Presentation on theme: "THE MIDDLE AGES THE CONDITION OF WOMEN Woman feeding chikens, from Tacuinum sanitatis, an Italian manuscript, ca.1385. Wien, Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek."— Presentation transcript:
THE MIDDLE AGES THE CONDITION OF WOMEN Woman feeding chikens, from Tacuinum sanitatis, an Italian manuscript, ca.1385. Wien, Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek.
TEXTS – The Prioress (G. Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, General Prologue) – The Wife of Bath (G. Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, General Prologue) – The Wife of Usher’s Well (Anonymous ballad)
The prioress There was also a nun, a prioress, Who, in her smiling, modest was and coy; Her greatest oath was but "By Saint Eloy!" And she was known as Madam Eglantine. Full well she sang the services divine, Intoning through her nose, becomingly; And fair she spoke her French, and fluently, After the school of Stratford-at-the-Bow, For French of Paris was not hers to know. At table she had been well taught withal, And never from her lips let morsels fall, Nor dipped her fingers deep in sauce, but ate With so much care the food upon her plate That never driblet fell upon her breast. In courtesy she had delight and zest. Her upper lip was always wiped so clean That in her cup was no iota seen Of grease, when she had drunk her draught of wine. (…) SOCIAL STATUS/JOB Known as Madam Eglantine. Nun, prioress. Good social position. RELEVANT INFORMATION French knowledge. Prestigious school education. Great pleasure in etiquette. Very sensitive.
The Wife of Bath There was a business woman, from near Bath, But, more's the pity, she was a bit deaf; So skilled a clothmaker, that she outdistanced Even the weavers of Ypres and Ghent. In the whole parish there was not a woman Who dared precede her at the almsgiving, And if there did, so furious was she, That she was put out of all charity. her headkerchiefs were of the finest weave, ten pounds and more they weighed,I do believe, those that she wore on Sundays on her head. Her stockings were of finest scarlet red, very tightly laced; shoes pliable and new. (…) SOCIAL STATUS/JOB Name not given. Middle class. Widow Important social position in her parish. RELEVANT INFORMATION French knowledge. Prestigious school education. Great pleasure in etiquette. Very sensitive.
Compare and Contrast: “The Prioress” vs “The Wife of Bath” Both representative of the real Medieval woman. The wife of Bath is parodized. The Prioress is portraited with respect of her role.
The Wife of Usher’s Well There lived a wife at Usher's well, And a wealthy wife was she; She had three stout and stalwart sons, And sent them o'er the sea. They hadna been a week from her, 5 A week but barely ane, When word came to the carline wife That her three sons were gane. They hadna been a week from her, A week but barely three, 10 When word came to the carline wife That her sons she'd never see. (…) SOCIAL STATUS/JOB Name not given. Wealthy position. Mother. RELEVANT INFORMATION Desperation because of the loss of her sons.
Medieval Woman IndipendentReligiousdepending on Men At the same time admired and disapproved Supposed to live like Virgin Mary Supposed to take care of the the house and the children
Middle Ages Most important life's aspects: FAITH, SALVATION Women in religious tradition Virgin Mary Tempter Eve REAL WOMEN RESAMBLE THEM