Wife of Bath Prologue

The Wife of Bath has an interesting beginning to her tale, where she begins by making arguments about her own way of life. She is using scripture to fit her particular arguments, almost as if she has to prove it to herself.
In Re-Imagining Nature, however, it was written that there is an unexplainable connection between things of this world and the divine, thus saying that humans have access to a mystical part of themselves that could be unleashed with study. This mystical attachment to the divine is shared by the earth and the sky around us human. However with growing ideas of western individualism, this connection becomes like turbid water. Foggy and unclear. The Wife of Bath in fighting for her ability to remarry and have sex seems to be in conjunctions with ideas of the self being most important:

614       Allas, allas! That evere love was synne!
615       I folwed ay myn inclinacioun
616       By vertu of my constellacioun;;
617       That made me I koude noght withdrawe
618       My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.
619       Yet have I Martes mark upon my face,
620       And also in another privee place.
621       For God so wys be my savacioun,
622       I ne loved nevere by no discrecioun,
623       But evere folwede myn appetit,
624       Al were he short, or long, or blak, or whit;
625       I took no kep, so that he liked me,
626       How poore he was, ne eek of what degree.


This woman is one who has her own agenda and her own way of following that which God wanted. She claims that she is not really sinning for her own being is something that is Godly. He created her and gave her desires right? If God intended for the act of sex to be only a manner of procreation then surely he wouldn’t have made it feel so good? He would not have gave the desires nor the parts for the action. In addition she argues that she could remarry as much as she wanted because prophets had often had more than a single wife as the bible states, so why should it be any different for women, she asks herself?

She took the scripture and interpreted it of her own accord. She did not simply allow herself to be told what was right or wrong. According to Re-imagining Nature this is an effect of the Western Theologists study of the holy trinity. The West has developed a greater sense of the individual due to the shift of a balanced cloud of mysticism as told my traditional assumptions of an apophatic trinity to a trinity that is more concrete and grounded. The father and the son were merged into one being with the Holy Spirit being of a subordinate nature doing God’s will. The son being equal to the father, thus created an effect among believers that they too are capable of being equal to the divine, because the son was human. The Wife of Bath thus is representative of this sort of backwards thinking of the Holy Script.

This self-proclamation of free will with little restriction allows the Wife of Bath to interact with her environment. She is enacting in a world that is seeking to interact with Divine, in the ways that God supposedly intended for her to interact, but also acting against by going against what some apostates have said.

She is not taking her own individual self power but she is trying to get others to renounce their own mysticism for her own will. She is not recognizes that the rights she claims to be able to have is not available to everyone because her own husbands were supposed to follow her every whim. Thus nature and the environment is not going to be respected the same way if everyone is focusing on their own concerns.




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