Powerful Women in literature - Essay Example

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Women are a powerful gender, despite all weak and humiliating stereotypes attached to them. They are referred to as feeble, emotional, unwise, and superficial, as compared to their male counterparts. They are considered to be better at homes, within the boundaries set by men of the society…
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Powerful Women in literature
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Download file to see previous pages However, history has manifold examples of such women, who have proved their courage, valor, and dignity, and have made the world acknowledge them as powerful women. Medieval literature contains images of many powerful women. Literature shows them as being authoritative, mindful, wise, and liberal. They know how they can govern men, and how they can take revenge for mistreatment. This paper intends to analyze three texts that contain examples of powerful women, by focusing on the traits of these women as illustrated by the authors of the texts.
"The Wife of Bath's Tale", by Geoffrey Chaucer, depicts the female gender as being as powerful and dependable as the male gender. Women are shown in the story, standing up in support of each other and asserting their authority on the male gender. The character to be talked about here is the wife of the young knight- the queen- who stands up for the raped maid, and instead of showing her willingness in the punishment for the knight, lets him go to find her the answer regarding what women want. In her speech, she talks vigorously and aggressively about men who were against feminism, and strongly supports women. She is not the kind of typical medieval woman who is under control of her husband. She is authoritative and commanding. Hence, we see that the Wife of Bath wants to rule men. She wants to change how medieval society treated women. She is liberal enough to use her part of sex as a tool for dominance, as she says, “they were nat maad for noght.” She supports polygamy. She is wise enough to drive logics from Bible. "The Miller's Tale" is another text by Geoffrey Chaucer, in which he has shown women as being powerful enough to choose whom they love, who they sleep with, and what they do with their matrimonial lives. Although what the woman of the tale, Alison, does is not moral in any sense, yet she has strength enough to break the cords of repression which behold her due to her marriage with an old man. Alison relates to the Wife of Bath in that both women want to use their sexuality as their tool with which they can govern men, and with which they can rule. The tale exempts Alison from retribution of her immoral act, and she has been shown as powerful enough to choose between her ethical dilemmas and moral conflicts. She is not held accountable for her cuckoldry and deception; instead, she enjoys calling her husband as a fool fearing Noah’s flood. Hence, we see that Alison, as the queen in the Wife of Bath’s Tale, makes use of her parts of sex to get what she wants from men. Thus, writers continue to portray women as powerful beings in their texts. Another example of such texts is “Beowulf”, which contains Anglo-Sexton views regarding the role of women in society (Heaney and Niles). Grendel’s mother is a female character who is powerful and combative. In contrast to Wealhtheow, the queen of the Danes, who is submissive and obedient, Grendel’s mother possesses such power that makes her known as an evil monster-wife. She shows the kind of behavior that was not acceptable for the Anglo-Sexton society. She attacks Beowulf’s men and kills one of them. She has courage enough to reclaim her son’s arm that has been cut off from his body. She gets into an aggressive fight with Beowulf to take revenge on behalf of her son. Although we see that Beowulf defeats her in the fight, yet she is remembered as the kind of a woman who makes her own decisions, taking her matters in her own hands, violating the customs, and seeking revenge. To conclude, we have seen that medieval literature shows how powerful women can be. The queen in the Wi ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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