Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Comparing The Wife of Baths Tale and The Story of Dame Ragnell :: English Literature Essays

Comparing The Wife of Bath's Tale and The Story of Dame Ragnell The story of Dame Ragnell and "The Wife of Bath's Tale" are works that are very similar yet have differences that set the two apart. The most obvious comparison between the two works is the dilemma faced in each. In both stories a man's life is at stake and all he has to do to be spared is to answer one question. That question has to do with what women really want. Another similarity involves the outcome of each story. The differences between the two stories are revealed in the plots. The differences that stand out the most are the circumstances leading up to the question being asked and the attitude of the person that has to marry the old hag to get the answer to the question. There are many small differences between the stories but they are not as important as the two mentioned. In the story of Dame Ragnell and "The Wife of Bath's Tale," the men in question are in a very serious predicament. The knight in "The Wife of Bath's Tale" gets into his predicament by raping a young maiden. In "Dame Ragnell," King Arthur is accused of giving Sir Gawain land that belongs to someone else, Gromer Somer Joure. Their crimes are completely different, yet they still warrant similar punishment. Although the reason that each character is in his situation is a glaring difference between the two stories, in both cases the character's lives are at stake because of something they have done. In order to be saved from death they must answer a question: "To shewe me at thy coming whate wemen love best in feld and town." (Ragnell 91-92) This is what King Arthur is asked by Gromer Somer Joure in the story of Dame Ragnell. In "The Wife of Bath's Tale," we can see the question is worded differently. The Queen says to the knight: "I graunte thee lif if thou canst tellen me what thing it is that wommen most desiren." (Bath 910-911) Although there is a slight difference in the wording of the question in each tale, each still has the same idea: What is it that women want the most? In both stories the main characters, the knight, in "The Wife of Bath's Tale" and King Arthur in, the story of Dame Ragnell, search out the answer to this question.

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