Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Liberal Studies


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Kennedy, Teresa

Major or Concentration



Beginning with Romance of the Rose by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun in 1269, Medieval authors give allegorical characteristics to women defining what a Medieval woman is, who she should be, and how she should behave. This text becomes a rule book on courtly love and male and female behavior lasting for centuries and is borrowed by authors like Geoffrey Chaucer, who used Romance of the Rose as a reference to question female authority in many of his works. Therefore, it is through an understanding of characters such as the Old Woman from The Romance of the Rose, Criseyde from Troilus and Criseyde, and Alisoun from “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale,” that we are able to shed light on the level of sovereignty women had in the Middle Ages and how they may have achieved that level.