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The Wife of Bath
Transcript of The Wife of Bath
• Some of the poets, writers, and dramatists buried in Poet’s Corner include Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, Adam Fox, and Isaac Barrow
• The most recent writer to be commemorated is Ted Hughes (on December 6, 2011)
• The next writer to be commemorated will be C.S. Lewis on November 22, 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death • In 1599, Edmund Spenser was buried nearby and thus the tradition of burying poets here began
• There are 111 writers memorialized here
• Many poets’ burials were delayed
o Shakespeare died in 1616, but had to wait until 1740 to be moved to the Poet’s Corner
o Lord Byron died in 1824 but, because of his scandalous lifestyle, wasn’t given a memorial until 1969
• Some of the poets’ burials are the only proof we have of their fame; other admired poets don’t have a monument here • Located in the south transept of Westminster Abbey
• Not originally designated as the burial place for writers, poets, and playwrights
• Chaucer was the first person to be buried here because he had been Clerk of Works to the palace of Westminster, not because he was the author of the Canterbury Tales.
• Originally the only memorial to him was a leaden plate hung on an adjacent pillar. In 1556 a more magnificent tomb was constructed by the poet Nicholas Brigham. The Crusades were a series of Holy Wars launched by the Christian states of Europe against the religious group called the Saracens (otherwise know as the Moslums).
The wars began in 1095 when Pope Claremont preached what became known as the "First Crusade" at the Council of Claremont.
The Pope's speech led to thousands immediately fitting the cross to their garments.
The name "Crusade" given to the Holy Wars came from the old French word meaning 'cross'. The cause of the Crusades was the taking of Jerusalem in 1065 by Turks involving the massacre of 3000 Christians.
The whole purpose of the Crusades was initially to release the claim of holy land from the Saracens but further extended to the seizure of Spain and islands in the Mediterranean, as well as to rescue holy places in Palestine from a different religious group called the Mohammedans.
For about 200 years, Europe and Asia were took part in the Crusades through constant warfare. Throughout this period, many crusaders moved to and from Moslem bound countries like Syria and Egypt. There were eight total wars in number: the first four were sometimes called the Principal Crusades, and the remaining four were referred to as the Minor Crusades.
The First Crusade established the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem but the city was gradually lost by the end of the last Crusades.
There was an additional Children's Crusade but this was ultimately the end of the declining power of the Crusades.
Altogether there ended up being a vast number of expeditions as part of the Crusades, however, many of them are insignificant.
These wars also established many Orders of Religious Knights such as the Knights Templar.
The lasting effects of the Crusades were that it changed progression in the course of civilization and also increased wealth and power of the Catholic church. • Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343 in London, England
• He is considered one of the greatest English poets of the middle ages and was the first to be buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey
• During his lifetime he was well known for being an author, philosopher, astronomer, and diplomat
• He played a crucial part of creating the widely accepted vernacular of Middle English during a time when the dominant literary language was Latin
• He died on October 25, 1400 at the age of 57 • The name Chaucer, a French form of the Latin calcearius, means “shoemaker”
• He was the son of John Chaucer, a vintner and citizen of London, and Agnes, heiress of one Hamo de Copton, the city moneyer
• In 1357, Chaucer joined the service of Elizabeth, countess of Ulster
• In 1359, Chaucer went to the war in France and at some point was taken prisoner at “Retters”. On the 1st of March 1360 the King Edward III contributed to his ransom
• A year or two later Chaucer entered the royal service and eventually became one of the king’s esquires
• In the king’s court he met and married Philippa Chaucer, his wife, and had two sons and a daughter
• Chaucer was frequently employed on important diplomatic missions during his time in the service; in 1372 he was sent to Italy His most famous works include :
The Book of the Duchess
Troilus and Criseyde
The House of Fame
The Legend of Good Women
The Canterbury Tales Bibliography Peasants
Wore undergarments made of linen
Their clothing was mainly hand-made of wool (which was very rough)
Usually only owned one outfit
Men wore tunics with hose under it as pants
Belts and hats specific to each outfit were worn as well
Women wore sleeveless tunics called kirtles in dark colors such as brown or grey
Sheepskin cloaks, woolen hats, and mittens were worn in the winter
Stockings and leather shoes, usually calf-length boots with turned down or rolled tops, were worn under the tunics Upper Class
Bright colors and expensive materials were a sign of wealth
The middle class and up could afford materials that were shipped in from foreign lands
Length of the tunic signaled how much wealth one had (the longer the tunic, the richer the person was)
On more formal occasions, men would wear loose, sleeveless outer garments called mantles that were sometimes embroidered with gold or silver thread, bejeweled, or lined with fur
Women wore full, loose-fitting, ankle-length gowns
By the fourteenth century the gowns had fitted bodices with long, flowing skirts and tight sleeves with up to fifty buttons on each arm
The wealthy often lined their garments with fur
Women wore elaborate headgear such as Italian turbans or garments shaped like hearts and butterflies
Only the very wealthy could afford any jewelry
The most popular jewelry for women was a ring brooch Religious People
Monks wore long woolen habits
The order the monk belonged to could be determined by the color of the habits (Benedictines wore black, Cistercians wore un-dyed wool or white, etc.)
Monk's clothes were plain but comfortable Chaucer tells us that the Wife of Bath...
is somewhat deaf
has five husbands
has a talent for making cloth
wears kerchiefs on her head that weight ten pounds and are made of very find fabric
wears hose of fine scarlet red, laced tightly, and shoes that are very new and supple
has a face that is bold and handsome and ruddy
has ample hips and sharp spurs on her feet
can laugh and gossip well in company Which paints her as...
worldly and adventurous
experienced "People may guess and interpret the text up and down,
but i know well, without a doubt, God bad
us all expressly to increase and multiply;
that pleasant text I can well understand.
And also I well know that He said my husband
should leave father and mother, and take me;
but He made no mention of number -
of bigamy or of octogamy;
why should men speak evil of it?"
(Chaucer 183) "Clothing in Medieval Times and Social Status." The Finer Times: War, Crime and History Resource. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"English-Online." Life in the Middle Ages. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
Emami, Gazelle. "Ted Hughes Enters Poets' Corner Alongside Chaucer, Line Of Writers." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Dec. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
"Geoffrey Chaucer." Chaucer. Poets' Graves, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
"Medieval Clothing." Medieval Clothing. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"The Middle Ages -- Clothing." The Middle Ages -- Clothing. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"Visiting the Abbey." Poets' Corner. Westminster Abbey, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
Guiney, Louise Imogen. "Geoffrey Chaucer." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 27 Feb. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03642b.htm>.
Jokinen, Anniina. "Geoffrey Chaucer." Luminariam: Anthology of English Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/chaucer.htm>.
"Life of Chaucer." Geoffrey Chaucer. Harvard College, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/varia/life_of_Ch/
"Feminist Analysis of the Wife of Bath." Article Myriad. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://www.articlemyriad.com/feminist-analysis-prologue-wife-bath/>.
"Wife of Bath - Character Analysis." CSIS. Pace, n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projf983a/charac.htm>.
"The Crusades." The Middle Ages. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/the-crusades.htm>.
"The Christian Crusades." GBGM. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/bible/crusades.stm>. Occupation:
The Wife of Bath is a seamstress - "She had such a talent for making cloth that she surpassed the weavers of Ypres and Ghent." (Chaucer 23)
Shows that the people of this time period placed high importance on appearances and the way one dressed
The weavers of Ypres and Ghent were known for their production of extremely good quality cloth, so the fact that the Wife of Bath is a better seamstress than them puts her in high esteem
Could also say her occupation is to be a wife, since she has been married five times Bigamy - marrying while already married to someone else
Continence - self constraint in sexual matters; virginity at the time was extremely important and women were meant to be chaste for their husbands
Curmudgeon - a bad-tempered, difficult person
Dotard - Middle English word for a foolish, weak, and, usually, an old person
Caterwauling - to utter long, wailing cries The modern day occupation that would most closely resemble the wife of bath would be a housewife in the way that they would both have to stay at home and clean and cook. The wife's feminist attitude, however, suggests that she would be more comparative to a more progressive housewife role. Chaucer's opinion towards this character is that she is supposed to provide comic relief in the fact that she can be seen as a sort of parody since she portrays a number of negative female characteristics, including stupidity and arrogance. At the same time, however, there is admiration for her feminist life values.
"She was somewhat deaf, which was a shame...She was gap-toothed, to tell the truth" (Chaucer 23).
""How many was she allowed to have in marriage? Never yet in my life have I heard this number defined...[God] said my husband should leave father and mother, and take me; but He made no mention of number - of bigamy or of octogamy" (Chaucer 183).
"One may counsel a woman to be a virgin, but counseling is not commandment; [God] left it to our own judgment" (Chaucer 185). Day to day life:
Life for women in the Middle Ages was hard, especially for those that were not royal or noble.
•For peasant women the days were full of work and responsibilities because they were expected to help their husbands with daily chores as well as attending to provisions and the cooking of all daily meals.
•Typically their days began very early in order to begin breakfast preparations and to tend to the small animals, such as geese, chickens, etc.
•Weaving, spinning, making, and mending clothes were also part of the women’s work.
•Most importantly, women were responsible for their children and having a basic understanding of medicines and herbs for nursing them in times of sickness.
The Wife of Bath was better off than the typical medieval woman because she was a seamstress and dressed in very fancy clothing. Chaucer also tells us that she was well-traveled and therefore clearly had a lot more freedom. She most likely spent her days making and mending clothes and caring for her children, if she had any. Chaucer never specifically says that she is a mother but she is married several times and speaks of God's will to "multiply". The fact, that she was married so many times shows she wasn't as connected to her husband's work as most women and that's probably why she traveled so much.