How Does Medieval Literature Exhibit the Roles of Men and Women Essay

How Does Medieval Literature Exhibit the Roles of Men and Women


The mediaeval literature is full of narratives of the parlous escapades and the valiant heroes. Many subdivisions of the mediaeval literature are dry and normally consist a message. The characters in the mediaeval literature are often male monarchs. knight. or Queens. such as in the Chaucer’s. Sir Gawain. the Canterbury narratives. and the Grecian knight. Majority of the back uping characters in these narratives are in unidimensional and defined by their functions and undertakings in the society. However. the chief characters in the mediaeval literature exhibit the mark of independency and are non entirely defined by the society’s outlooks.

In the Knight. the mediaeval kingdoms ne’er appeared to be surprise whether adult females are Lords or provincials. they were non merely confined to household responsibilities such as cookery. run uping. spinning and weaving but besides hunted nutrient and fought in conflicts. In the married woman bath’s narrative. a knight the major character raped a adult female. From this it shows that the adult females rights were non valued and any one in top authorization could go against these rights without any of the effects for Knight violated the right volitionally ( Chaucer. 119 ) .

In add-on. the adult females were non valued much to work forces ; there was no equality of adult females to adult females. This is good illustrated when the immortal Knight. must make everything he can to happen out what adult females want in their lives. orders from the queen. When he meet old adult female after he had travelled about everyplace. the adult female responds to the inquiry that all they want is to be equal to work forces. In another incident is apparent that adult females are non esteemed or instead non much repudiated. Another Knight frequently insults the adult female who agreed to get married. He calls her ugly and evil. he berates her in every conceivable manner. He does non appreciate her stature appreciate her stature and deface the repute of all adult females ( Chaucer. 136 ) .

Sir Garran exhibits the place work forces should keep on the society. Harmonizing to him. work forces should be at that place to react to the challenges confronting the adult females. He faces critics from other Knights when he says that each should be alone in the manner that they respond to the challenges and in the manner. they perceive their functions in the society. In add-on. he says that they must continue their unity and repute. When one of Knight insults the adult female married. Sir Garwan responds that should non go on to knights ( Bennett. 121 ) .

As the function of adult females is portrayed in the narrative. the vulnerable and Assertion of the married woman of Bath community was really different in Chaucer’s clip ; the adult females were suppressed and the work forces dominated the society. The destructive and manipulative nature of the adult females was much emphasized by work forces. Just like eve in the bible. the adult females were blamed for the failure/downfall of a adult male. Through the Bath of married woman. Chaucer tries to look into the adversity of the self-fulfillment in a adult female in the restricted environment. Alison. the married woman of bath. symbolizes male chauvinism hunts and stereotypes for peace and felicity in a patriarchal community. Unfortunately. Alison is ne’er in harmoniousness with who she really is as adult female ( Chaucer. 105 ) . Chaucer’s uses a series of sarcasms to finally illustrates that under her seemingly certain visual aspect ; there hide the psyche of a defenseless. lost adult female. In Green Knight and Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain is every bit good a knight. He is from King Arthur’s Knights of Round Table. a really of import at that clip. The Knights were anticipated to be brave. honest. and gallant. After the Green Knight proposes and enters his difference. Sir Gawain is brave plenty. as the knight could be. to escalate to the challenge.

As we see from these narratives. work forces are portrayed to be brave. honest. and hardworking. The work forces in the society dominate the adult females. These show the lowed place of adult females in the society. They are discriminated. and viewed to hold negative consequence in the society. The adult male decides the functions of their adult females and has power of them.

The control and laterality in the married woman of Chaucer is the Wife Bath narrative. Alison. the chief character recognizes laterality of his hubby as the major intent of her narrative and life. Alison is a froward and commanding adult female. She desires to rule her hubby. She trusts that. in order to be her comrade. a adult male needs to be submissive and that she remains the caput of the family. Although she has been married for several times. she has ne’er accepted to be dominated by a adult male. She says out of her five matrimonies. two were bad hubbies and three were good hubby. The married woman of the Bath is aggressive to acquire what she wants and nil can halt her because she lives for laterality.

In decision. characters in the mediaeval literature are different and alone in their behaviour ; nevertheless. each character plays a function to exhibit the function of work forces and adult females in the society. Harmonizing to Albert in his book Medieval Sexuality. a miss says “I can’t head if am beaten by adult male but a woman…” ( 52 ) . This shows that characters in the book do non exhibit understanding of their rights and functions as work forces and adult females they should keep in the society. In mediaeval literature it is apparent that adult females had difficult times while work forces lived rough lives. possibly all in attempt to execute their functions.


Chaucer. “Conversion and Convergence: The Role and Function of Women in Post-Medieval Icelandic Folktales. ”Scandinavian Studies 2 ( 2012 ) : 165.

Blumenfeld-Kosinski. Renate. “Medieval Life Cycles: Continuity And Change. ” Medieval Review ( 2014 ) :

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