CHAUCER READING FOR IMAGERY 3
ChaucerReading for Imagery
Imageryrefers to the elements in a poem that spark off the senses of thereader. Imagery does not necessarily refer to pictures, but may referany of the five human senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, andsight, which can as well respond to what the poet writes. Imagery hasbeen used well in the poem, “TheWife of Bath’s Prologue Tale.”
Oneof the imageries that the wife uses is bread. The wife uses bread tocompare herself and other women in several occasions. At first, sheequates virgins to wheat bread and wives to barley bread. The wifemeans that virgins are preferred to wives in a similar way wheatbread is preferred to barley bread (Greenblatt et al., 2012). Whenshe says that Jesus used barley bread to “refresh” many men, theimagery that she creates here is, wives are “refreshment” for menthrough sex. The character of wives that is created in the readers’mind is that wives are considered objects of sex. Bread as an imageryunfolds the plot of sexuality in the poem since women are taken as“refreshment” for men. Bread as an imagery brings out the themeof sex.
Anotherimagery that the wife uses is flowers. She compares herself and hersexuality to flowers. She likens her sexuality to flowers, in thesense that, sexual desires can wither the same way flowers do(Tasioulas & Chaucer, 1999). When flowers sprout, they areusually very beautiful and can attract many people. Likewise, womenare sexually active when they are young, but as age goes by, theirsexual urge declines just as flowers wilt when they get old. Thepicture that comes into the readers’ mind is women are veryattractive when young just like flowers when they sprout. Flowerstoo, bring out the themes of sex and sexuality in women marriages(Tasioulas & Chaucer, 1999).
Greenblatt,S., et al. (Eds.) (2012). The Norton anthology of English literature(9th ed., Vol.1). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Tasioulas,J. A., & Chaucer, G. (1999). Thewife of bath`s prologue and tale: Geoffrey Chaucer.London: York Press.