For the most part, I am not shocked by what happens in the varies readings that we have been assigned. However, when it came time to read the Canterbury Tales the reactions from the ladies of the court after the rape that the knight had committed was found out surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t necessarily think that the knight would really get into any trouble, but when the people of the court were in an uproar over what happened, and then were persuaded to let the knight live by the ladies of the court I was a little shocked. This was not the only time throughout this tale that the women in it were able to make a difference, and have a choice about what transpired around them. The Wife of Bath was able to marry repeatedly and have nearly complete control in almost all of her marriages, where before the women in that time period were expected to remain a widow and not remarry. There was also the woman that the knight married who was at first an old hag, but she held the reins over that relationship because without her the knight’s life would have been forfeit. Throughout this story the prevailing theme seemed to be women who had strong willpower and ability to get what they want.
This wasn’t the only instance that this theme was shown in the reading assigned for section four I was also able to see it in Beowulf to a certain extent. For instance when Grendel’s mother was enraged by her son’s death she showed her emotions through her actions, and went and attacked the men and stole his arm back along with a slew of other items. The reason that I am putting Grendel’s mother into this category of strong women is because of her actions when attempting to get revenge, and trying to survive the assault that Beowulf brought to her home. The fact that she was a woman didn’t dismiss her from having feelings, and even though she did not have her own name but was instead referred to only as her son’s mother. I can truly appreciate her as a character because of her attempting to change what she disliked about her situation.
Unlike the two stories above the last work I will be discussing is actually a poem called Plums are Falling. In this poem we see how a woman is attempting to find a husband worthy of her, and with each passing line we see the requirements she sets forth. At the beginning there are seven men who are attempting to win her favor and have her as their wife, but unlike in most of the works in this time period the woman is able to choose her partner. She doesn’t settle for anyone who cannot make the cut and as the poem goes on the men surrounding her slowly fade away, and again her demands in her future husband are listed. The women in this poem is able to help shape her surroundings and the qualities that she desires in a husband are being listened to instead of ignored, like in the Tale of Genji where Genji’s primary wife’s feelings about marrying someone who was so much younger than her were ignored. While that story was in the previous section it doesn’t make what happened in it any less true.
All of the stories that I mentioned focused in several ways on how the women in them actually had a very strong voice. When it came to Beowulf the themes usually noticed in it were war culture and masculinity, and not the strength that Grendel’s mother actually shows in going to battle with Beowulf and seeking revenge for the death of her son. In the other works like Canterbury Tales and Plums are Falling we are able to see the strength of will that the female characters show a lot easier, and what is truly amazing about both works is that they are listened to instead of ignored.
This is the last blog post of the semester and more than likely my life unless I end up in another class that requires it, and while I would not say writing these have been fun they were at least interesting. So for the short amount of time that this account was active and in semi-regular use I hope that my fellow classmates and other bloggers enjoyed the random rants that I would come up with to fulfill a minimum word requirement.