Chaucer, Shakespeare and Gender Roles Comparison Essay by Quality Writers

Chaucer, Shakespeare and Gender Roles
A comparison of the portrayal of sexual and gender roles in Geoffrey Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale" and William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night".
# 103772 | 1,540 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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The paper compares how Geoffrey Chaucer in "Wife of Bath's Tale" and William Shakespeare in "Twelfth Night" questioned, challenged or mocked contemporary views on gender roles and sexual stereotypes. The paper shows how, although there are differences, we can see a similar attitude in both works toward gender roles, sexual stereotyping and the treatment and portrayal of women.

From the Paper:

""The Wife of Bath's Tale" is one of a series of stories in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. It was probably written shortly prior to his death in 1400. The Canterbury Tales is a "frame story," meaning that a series of narratives are tied together allowing each character to relate their own story (Alexander xvii). Chaucer's stories are the individual tales of a group of pilgrims traveling together to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury (Alexander xvi). "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is really the second for this character as it is preceded by "The Wife of Bath's Prologue" which is sort of an autobiography in which she describes her five marriages. The true order in which Chaucer placed each of the tales (other's including the Miller, the Pardoner, the Prioress and the Nun's Priest) is not known (Alexander xix). Chaucer was not only a writer, but had a long career as a public servant. During his life he traveled widely throughout Europe, no doubt the source of many of his story ideas and characters. It is possible that Chaucer never finished all of his intended tales, and that some of the book is autobiographical, with him playing the varied role of the host for his collection of characters."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by Daniel Cook. New York: Doubleday, 1961.
  • Shakespeare, William. William Shakespeare The Comedies. Edited by Peter Alexander. New York: Heritage Press, 1958.
  • Tan, Marcus. "Here I am ... Yet Cannot Hold this Visible Shape: the Music of Gender in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night." Comitatas a Journal of the Renaissance 32.5 (October 2002). 16 Apr. 2007 <>

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Chaucer, Shakespeare and Gender Roles (2008, May 26) Retrieved May 24, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Chaucer, Shakespeare and Gender Roles" 26 May 2008. Web. 24 May. 2022. <>