Women In The Fabliaux Essay

This essay has a total of 1022 words and 4 pages.

Women In The Fabliaux


Females are portrayed in the Fabliaux as having certain distinct
characteristics. In 'Les Quatre Sohais Saint-Martin';, 'The Chevalier Who Made Cunts
Talk';, and 'The Miller's Prologue and Tale'; medieval women are portrayed in similar
ways. Women are imaginative and therefor their thoughts must be controlled. They also, in
the Fabliaux, crave sex and have sexually creative minds. These three Fabliaux texts
present women that are similar and represent commonly held views about the female sex of
the time.

Women in the Middle Ages were thought of as having wildly creative imaginations. They were
capable of much more description and creativity then men. This is portrayed in 'Les Quatre
Sohais Saint-Martin';. The peasant women, when presented with her husbands four wishes,
begins to wish for pricks all over her husbands body. After first describing her husband's
current state as 'soft and like a furry animal'; (lecture notes) she goes on to say that
she wishes for big pricks, short pricks, curved pricks, strait pricks, and other kinds all
over his body including his ears, knees, forehead, and abdomen. She does not merely wish
for one, hard prick but instead lists all the types she can think of. Because the husband
only wishes that the 'same comes to her'; (lecture notes) it is obvious that the wife is
the one with the creative imagination. In 'The Chevalier Who Made Cunts Talk'; the women
are also very imaginative. After the Chevalier rescues the three naked women's clothes
they decide to each present him with a gift as a reward for acting so honorably. The first
grants him a loon. The second grants him the ability to make all cunts speak to him. The
third, not wanting to be upstaged by the first and second, gives him the talent to make
all assholes speak. It is here that the extents of the female imagination are
demonstrated. The Chevalier finds these gifts to be so wild that he thought the girls were
mocking him: ' 'Those meadow girls made fun of me''; (Guerin 233). In the Middle Ages a
woman's imagination was considered a powerful thing that must be controlled. If a woman's
thoughts were not controlled there could be drastic consequences like strange
characteristics in children. The thoughts and actions of the women in these Fabliaux are
representative of this wildly held belief among men.

The women in these three Fabliaux are also very interested in sex. One common idea of the
time was that women are dry and need sex and the moisture of a man to replenish them. In
'Les Quatre Sohais Saint-Martin'; the peasant woman immediately wishes for working pricks
on her husband's body. She does not wish for a better station in life, for wealth, good
looks, or even for good health. Her first priority is her sexual appetite. Her husband is
the voice of reason before she makes her wish. He knows that her wish will be sexual and
he tells her they must consider all things carefully. She pays no heed to this warning and
makes her sexual wish any way. This Fabliaux illustrates the thought that women were
incapable of being rational, possibly because of their highly active imaginations, and
that they had, in this case, sex on the brain.

Again, in 'The Chevalier Who Made Cunts Talk'; the women are representative of Middle Age
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