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A Portrait of a Lioness

Annie Brong

St. John's College, 2017

An exploration of Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, which poses female experience against male authority. The lengthy prologue and the following tale display feminine logic in relation to man’s own. Though the Wife often contradicts herself and seems, sometimes, an offensive caricature of womankind, we eventually understand why she knowingly presents herself as such. Woman must mount a defense against long-established male authority. She has no moral, ethical, historical text of her own to guide her. Her attack is, necessarily, reactionary, even impromptu. But this proves to be her best asset, for her tactics, her allegiances, and her reasoning may shift and sway with the tides.

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