Monna Giovanni and Wife of Bath Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:56
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The personas crafted by Boccaccio and Chaucer are different. Chaucers Wife of Bath receives its recognition from her smart characterization that portrays her as unconventional and eccentric woman with certain strident elements whereas Boccaccios Monna is described as a creature of elegance and of high moral stature. Both these women are manifestation of two different faces and facets of the same age. One manifestation of the age is conventional i. e.

Monna Giovanni who is utterly loyal and faithful whereas other illustration is unconventional that does take into consideration the conformist norms and values of the contemporary era. Both Wife of Bath and Monna Giovanni hail from higher social stratum. Wife of Baths attitude toward men is domineering and she advises other women to do so. She considers them lecherous and mean due to their indifferent attitude toward women. She refers to them as suspicious and lusty-fellows. (234-378) Her own attitude toward men is paradoxical.

She is offensive toward them and considers it a good practice to get best out of men. But she expects patience from men in anger and urges them to emulate the well-known tolerance of Job. She expects fidelity from them e. g. she hates the infidelity of her fourth husband but never assure them her own fidelity. In contrast to Wife of Baths thoughts toward men, Monnas attitude toward men is in conformity with the socio-cultural standards. Wife of Bath is does not behave in conformity with the social norms and traditions of the contemporary era. She does not meet the expectations of proper manners of a wife.

She married to three aged but well-off husbands in her youth and inherited their wealth. She is of dominant nature and tried to override her fourth husband who was of her age. She had a bad experience with her fifth husband. All of them are now dead but Wifes hopes are alive to marry anew. Through the summary of her married life (459-462), Chaucer portrays her as clever and selfish woman who unlike the common woman of her age does not marry due to matrimonial and ethical purposes but it was her materialistic desires that make her to marry old husbands.

But again her attitude toward marriage is paradoxical as she loves her fifth and last husband due to his expertise in sexual relationship. Wife of Bath has had extramarital relationships as well (lines 461, 467, 476). Unlike Wife of Bath, Monna Giovanni is an epitome of chastity and virtuous. She did not notice the temptations of sentiments and paid no heed to the instigations of her lovers. Boccaccio says in this regard; However the lady, no less virtuous than fair, cared not a jot for what he (Federigo) did for her sake, nor yet for him.

She marries and remains faithful to her husband till his death. Furthermore, Wife of Bath takes love and marriage in term of economic benefits and thus equalizes it to prostitution. She uses the economic terminology to denote to the marriage and matrimonial relationships. In contrast to Wife of Bath, Monna considers marriage socio-cultural obligations and takes pride in matrimonial bliss. Her faithfulness to her husband is a result of matrimonial accord. After her husbands death, she does not usurp his inheritance but forward it to their only son.

The only similarity between these characters is their stylish and trendy life. Wife of Bath is a fashionable lady adorned with the grace of the contemporary costumes and ornaments. But Chaucer provides certain references where she seems over-dressed. Monna Giovanni was in her day held rank among the fairest and most elegant ladies of Florence. But we do not find her snobbish and over-dressed. There is a feeling of superficiality about the Wife whereas Monnas character carries elegance and grace with it.

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