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The Wife Of Bath's Prologue And Tale

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As a stark contrast, this concept of celebrating powerful women in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” is almost invisible in the BBC cartoon. Throughout the cartoon, women are continually painted in a negative light—starting off with the Wife of Bath flirting with the Friar (BBC 0:25), as previously mentioned. The aggression and drama surrounding the tale only pertain to the female characters, making them seem as if they are crazy; it severely delegitimizes their actions and attitudes. The old woman who eventually marries the knight is relentlessly made fun of—one scene in particular shows her face up close licking her lips, telling the knight “I want to be your wife and your love!” (BBC 4:43) while his face is utterly disgusted. This depicts …show more content…
Despite all of the negativity, one positive symbol that stands out in the BBC cartoon is the yellow flower symbol. The flower is first introduced in the very beginning of the Wife of Bath’s tale; the virgin is picking flowers prior to the knight’s arrival (BBC 1:29), and after he rapes her, a close-up of a flower is shown (BBC 1:44). The flower also appears when the knight is first facing the court for his actions; the Queen gives him time to find a solution, and the scene immediately turns into a close-up of a woman in the crowd holding a flower in her hands (BBC 2:28). The flower symbol is revisited once again when the knight is forced to marry the old woman (BBC 5:02)—it is the same flower in the hands of the woman in the crowd, however this time it is fully blooming. This symbol stands out in the cartoon not only because of the repetitiveness, but also due to the visuals utilized in the cartoon. Most of the cartoon consists of neutral colors, so the bright yellow from the flower—especially when it is blooming—is eye-catching. Through the flower symbol, the cartoon suggests that giving women control correlates with a sense of hope and new life; it is almost like a societal rebirth. The idea of hope stemming from giving women power is also donated once the cook comments at the end …show more content…
The overarching cause of this is the fact that the BBC cartoon completely skips the prologue, giving no context to who the Wife of Bath is as a character (which stands as the reason why her prologue and tale are so powerful in The Canterbury Tales). This component, along with the emphasis placed on different aspects of the tale such as the sources of drama, aggressive actions from women, and overall negative light shed on the female characters, causes the tale to have a much different feel to it—a feel that the original Wife of Bath (and Chaucer) would probably not be too happy about. With that being said, the act of modernizing this tale shows its relevance in our current society. “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” is still one of the most memorable tales from Chaucer’s collection, and is still widely taught and referred to today. Many other remakes of the tale exist besides BBC’s version, such as “What Do Women Like Bes’?” from Agbabi’s Telling Tales, and more. Each remake puts their own spin on Chaucer’s tale and relates it to our society differently. One possible explanation for the differences in regards to the overall effect and message from Chaucer’s version to the BBC version could be the change from text to visual, along with the geographic location regarding where the cartoon was

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