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Elaine Tuttle Hansen, "The Powers of Silence: The Case of the Clerk's Griselda," in Women and Power in the Middle Ages, ed.Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988), pp. The portrayal of women in the Wakefield Master is also softened by his familiarity with the Roman plays of the ex-slave Terence who cared about and understood oppressed women and slaves, while writing about them with compassionate laughter as they gained their freedom.

And women, being themselves forced to obey this symbolic code, either became slaves to its bond, accepting it as their contract for existence, as did the Griselda of Petrarch, Boccaccio and Chaucer,\Both "Noe's Wife: Type of Eve and Wakefield Spinner," by Laura Hodges, and its appendix, Adelaide Bennett's "Noah's Recalcitrant Wife in the Ramsey Abbey Psalter," show how spinning was attributed to Noah's Wife, Uxor, and was used to illustrate the futility of a wife's disobedience to her husband, and hence, symbolically, man's disobedience to God.omen of the Middle Ages were once flesh and blood, participating actively in the economy of their society as textile producers, spinning, weaving and embroidering cloth, having clout as providers for their families.Bath city records, for instance, show us women as prosperous property owners as a result of their textile labors - as we see with Chaucer's Wife of Bath.\ We have already heard Heloise explain that women are separated from clerical pens by their need to wield distaves.As the prototypical willful wife, Uxor is also associated with Eve, the most negative image of women used to justify sexual inequality in the Middle Ages.\ Next, Adelaide Bennett's discussion of an illuminated manuscript from an English monastery, the product of a male textual community and influenced by the paradigm shift towards greater misogyny resulting from the introduction of the university, leads us into strange realms of displaced sexual images (the plugged hole in the bottom of the Ark), and the association of Noah's wife with the devil, indicative of the demonizing, and dehumanizing, by monks vowed to chastity, of the feared, forbidden other.Then, in contrast, Gail Mc Murray Gibson's "The Thread of Life in the Hand of the Virgin," demonstrates how clerics could treat also spinning, and thus women, in a more positive way, in bono, especially where they were writing for women, representing the power over life and death wielded by the Virgin Mary and her pagan predecessors, the Three Fates.