Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Length: 582 words

Comparative literature is critical scholarship dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups. We are going to use “Wife of Bath’s Prologue” and Tale and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” as an example to talk about allegory. Allegory refers to figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal.

In love and romances matters, medieval romances typically recount the marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who abides by chivalry’s strict codes honour and demeanour, embarks upon a quest and defeats monsters, thereby winning the favour of a lady. Through Gawain’s adventure, the reader becomes attached to this human view in the mist of the poem’s romanticism, relating to Gawain’s humanity while respecting his knightly qualities. In the “Wife of Bath,” the Wife’s stated purpose is to speak of strife in marriage.

Her real preoccupation is with “maisture”. The struggle for this has been the cause of her woe, especially in her fourth and fifth marriages. She depicts all five in terms of combat. The attempt to gain mastery may succeed or fail, but on adventure. In Christian interpretations, through the poem, Gawain encountered numerous trials testing his devotion and

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faith in Christianity. When Gawain set out on his journey to find the Green Chapel, he found the journey to be disorienting.

Only after praying to the Virgin Mary was he able to find his way. After which, he inevitably encountered the Green Knight, which made him to place his faith in the faith in the girdle given to him by Bertilak’s wife. Through the various games played and hardships endured, Gawain found his place with Christian world. The Wife of Bath argues from scripture and experience is not a bad thing, and that successive marriages for those who are widowed are perfectly in order. Therefore, she still obeys principles of the Bible, technically speaking.

We can easily find about Christian allude from both of this two poem. In feminist matters, feminist literary critics see the poem as portraying women’s ultimate power over men. Lady Bertilak is the most powerful characters in the poem. The girdle and Gawain’s scar can be seen as symbols of feminine power, each of them diminishing Gawain’s masculinity. In contrast, others argue that the power focuses mostly on the opinions, actions and abilities of men. For example, on the surface, it appears that Bertilak’s wife is a strong leading character.

By adopting the masculine role, she appears to be an empowered individual, particularly in the bedroom scene. While the Lady is being forward and outgoing, Gawain’s feelings and emotions are the focus of the story, and Gawain stands to gain or lose the most. The Wife of Bath got married with several times one by one, in historical period, only males can have several wives, i. e. polygamy. The Wife of Bath can successive marriage with breaking the rule of Christian. It seems that it is fighting for the equality between male and female.

From these two poems, we can discover that the position and status of female is important, even sometimes is more significance than male, especially for the Wife of Bath. To conclude, the nature and treatment for allegory have similar area for Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, especially in the field of Christian and feminist. However, there may be different love and romance; one is focused on adventure while another focused on marriage.

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