In "The Clerk's Tale" and "The Wife of Bath's Tale " from Geoffrey
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, characters are demanding, powerful and
manipulating in order to gain obedience from others. From all of The
Canterbury Tales, "The Clerks Tale" and "The Wife of Baths Tale" are the
two most similar tales. These tales relate to each other in the terms of
obedience and the treatment of women. "The Wife of Bath Tale" consists of
one woman who has complete control over her husbands. It evolves the idea
that a woman is more powerful and controlling in a relationship. She
intimidates her husbands to do things and treat her in a certain ways so
that they would buy her material things and favors. "The Clerks Tale"
supports almost the opposite idea about women. It mentions that the man
has complete power in the relationship and the woman must obey everything
that the husband says. Such is the case with Walter and Griselda. Walter
is demanding and controlling over Griselda. She does whatever he says and
she lacks her own opinion. One difference between these tales however is
that "The Clerks Tale" is a very unrealistic story, whereas "The Wife of
Baths Tale" is a more practical story and would have the possibility of
Between the two stories, the Wife of Bath and Walter are both
characters who are the most demanding in order to gain obedience. Both
characters demand love, a sign of obedience to them. Walter tells Griselda
that the only way they will marry is if she promises to obey his commands.
He says "you love me as I know and would obey, being my leige-man born and
faithful to whatever pleases me I dare to say may succeed in also pleasing
you"(329). Walter demands her to love him and does not give her a choice.
In addition, the Wife of Bath also shows some of the same signs of
"tyranny" toward others. She takes reference from the Bible to defend her
opinions on a husband obediently loving his wife. To justify her beliefs,
the Wife of Bath says that "thus the apostle Paul has told it me, and bade
our husbands they should love us well. There¹s an command on which I like
to dwell" (262). Both Walter and the Wife of Bath are demanding to bring
them happiness and satisfaction in therms of getting obedience. In
addition to demanding love, both characters demand favors, a representation
of their obedience. Walter gives Griselda jewels and rings for her to wear
demanding the favor of her obedience to him, " the marquis bade prepare
brooches and rings, all for Griselda, lit with jewels, gold and lapis."
(328). The Wife of Bath also demands the favor of her personal
satisfaction from others. She demands material treasures and sexual
desires from her husbands. " But as I had them eating from my hand and as
they yielded me their gold...