From the beginning of The Wife of Bath s Prologue until the last stroke of ink in The Wife of Bath s tale, the character of Dame Alison can be easily figured. The madam is quite obviously a bitter woman, however, her ultimate desires limit themselves to simple scenarios involving power and control throughout the prologue and tale, Dame Alison reveals her inner-self through character traits and experiences that allow the reader to make an accurate analysis of her being.
Although Dame Alice seeks many common desires she obviously strives continuously for control in her marriages. Her power struggle begins in her prologue, “Which shall be bothe my dettour and my thrall, and have his tribulacion withal, upon his flesh I have power during al my lif upon his proper body right thus th Apostle tolde it unto me (260). When no man that fits the description appears, she looks for comfort and negation of responsibility by attempting to use biblical passages to prove her righteousness in her multiple marriages.
The desire for dominance continues with the story of the old woman and the knight with who she gives a choice of being old and faithful or beautiful, young and untrue. This allows the female character all power in the relationship and manipulating the male to make a choice men today would bungle. It becomes apparent that Dame Alison herself may envy the old woman in that story because of her power. She seeks the type of sheer power allotted to the old woman for her own life. In describing her five mates she categorizes them, as three of hem were goode, and two were badde.. 261). Her superficial views continue as she describes those who were good by riches and wisdom.
She describes the two bad husbands as not having certain things to satisfy her and ultimately not being controlled. It becomes obvious with the fifth husband that Dame Alison has failed to gain her control and power when her husband cheats after she gave him so many material possessions. With this, Alison becomes aware that she has no power and her husband holds the control in the relationship. This is where she becomes most envious of the old woman and the knight.
The jealousy comes from the power of the old woman after the knight allots it to her. However, Allison does not fair as well as she has no choice because she gave everything to her husband and he was unfaithful. When the story is told it is obvious that Dame Alison s wishes are simple, she desires the sovereignty over all relations with her husbands. She wishes that he be no greater than she because of sex or power (280-281). With her struggle for power and control in mind, Allison created the old woman and her tale.
This character personifies her struggles and desires. The entire tale of the old woman and the choice she gives reflects on Alison as she wishes that her husband may give back the responsibility to her and she can hold all the power. She is lingering for the words to be said unto her that whatever she chooses will be sufficient for both of their desires and needs (282). The analogies throughout the prologue and the tale offer insight into Dame Alison s life and she chooses to describe her ideals and utopia through a story.