One of Chaucer's characters from his Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath, spoke to me. I don't know why but I felt a kinship to her. I liked her confidence, and composure, and utter disregard for social norms, especially for her time. She just spoke to me. And it got me thinking, who would this woman be today? Who would she be if she were me?
So who was the Wife of Bath?
The Wife of Bath, known only as that (or informally as Alyson), is described in a rather explicit nature for the time she was living. Her attire and behavior is also described in a manner that would call how well she fits into the Christian standard into question. Women in her time were considered one of two things: Sinners or Saints. There was no in between. And Ms. Bath, having been married five times, did not fit into the category of Saint. Chaucer describes her face and figure as sexually fascinating. He carefully describes her clothes, legs, feet, hips, and most importantly her gapped teeth, which at that time, eluded to sensuality and lust. However, while her description is of a very promiscuous woman, boarding on an insult, she actually a very religious, respectable and highly-privileged woman. Extremely self-confident, true, but humble nonetheless.
The Wife of Bath, Alyson, is a woman with a lot of life experience. She believes that experience is the greatest authority in life. So she has traveled all over the world and seen many beautiful and ugly things. She can be rather argumentative and she throughly enjoys talking (especially about herself), but she was very much an intellectual. She learned how to provide for herself in a world where women had little, or no, independence or power. She was the director of her own fate.
Also, the portrait is a piece of my own creation, and is now available in the print store.