The Wife of Bath is one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s most famous characters; she was a woman strong enough to govern her own life. One may assume that this woman, penned by a man, could be labeled now as a feminist. It is possible, though, that Chaucer created this boisterous, opinionated woman not simply to assert that women are capable of being independent, but merely to show that women who attempt to do so are all as rude and coarse as she. So, her statements about life, love, and marriage may not be her own sentiments, but merely an echo of Chaucer’s personal beliefs concerning women.
“Defending Donne: ‘The Flea’ and “Elegy XIX’ as Compliments to Womankind” Mindfire 5 (2006).