An analysis of the wife of bath from geoffrey chaucers canterbury tales

The wife of baths prologue line by line analysis

Her clothing symbolizes to the reader that she is not timid or shy and also shows off her expertise as a weaver.. The Wife of Bath refers to many of these texts in her Prologue. The woman tells the knight that he must pledge himself to her in return for her help, and the knight, having no options left, gladly consents. Throughout the Wife's tale, traditional values and headships, that is leadership and supremacy, are reversed or overthrown. When she questions him, he confesses that her age, ugliness, and low breeding are repulsive to him. The knight said that she could be whatever she desired, giving her the option to choose and be happy with what she chose. Even in a modern society today, no person will feel her actions are justified. Arthur, wisely obedient to wifely counsel, grants their request. She fell to the floor and pretended to be dead. With or without this bit of Scripture, no man has ever been able to give her an exact reply when she asks to know how many husbands a woman may have in her lifetime. At her fourth husband's funeral, she could hardly keep her eyes off a young clerk named Jankyn, whom she had already admired. Alison has a choice of not giving in to the man, but she decides to let the man attain his sexual pleasure for his desire not hers because she has experienced sex before and she knows how much men enjoy it. Chaucer discusses his words to describe the Wife quite distinctly. The Wife then says that if her listeners would like to hear how the tale ends, they should read Ovid.

It should be noted, with much humor and irony, that they did find Death, just not the one that they were expecting. Your time is important. Her tale, which follows, reiterates her belief that a happy match is one in which the wife has control. Women were categorized as saints or sinners by their actions according to Christian tradition.

the wife of baths tale pdf

Wouldn't it be revealing? She laughs to recall the torments that she put these men through and recounts a typical conversation that she had with her older husbands.

Wife of bath prologue summary

She is a very self-confident woman who thinks highly of herself and her skills as a cloth maker. Her family may be poor, but real poverty lies in covetousness, and real riches lie in having little and wanting nothing. The old hag comes forth and publicly asks the knight to marry her. The knight agrees. She fell to the floor and pretended to be dead. If she were beautiful, many men would be after her; in her present state, however, he can be assured that he has a virtuous wife. But as he approaches, the group vanishes, and all he can see is an ugly old woman. This quotation obviously goes against feminist beliefs, confusing the reader. Leave virginity to the perfect, she says, and let the rest of us use our gifts as best we may—and her gift, doubtless, is her sexual power. Throughout the entire ordeal, the knight remains miserable. She says that many people have criticized her for her numerous marriages, most of them on the basis that Christ went only once to a wedding, at Cana in Galilee. God bade us to wax fruitful and multiply, she says, and that is the text that she wholeheartedly endorses. She pretends to be dead trying to make him feel guilty. After the Wife of Bath departs from the holy scriptures, she appeals to common sense — if everyone remained a virgin, she offers, who would be left to give birth to more virgins?

She wanted to marry him. An analysis of the "General Prologue" and the "Wyf's Prologue" reveals a direct relationship between the Wyf of Bathe and the characters in her tale, such as the knight, queen, and ugly woman. Chaucer discusses his words to describe the Wife quite distinctly.

The wife of baths tale theme

Instead, she prefers the biblical command to go forth and multiply. Incapable of keeping their mouths shut, they would spill your secrets to anyone who happened to walk by. Dunmow Fliatcah a prize awarded to the married couple in Essex who had no quarrels, no regrets, and, if the opportunity presented itself, would remarry each other. Jerome's comments on celibacy in Hieronymous contra Jovinianum , he reshaped the tale to fit in with the Wife of Bath's introduction and her basic thesis that women most desire "sovereignty. Women were presented as gold-diggers, only looking to marry for money. The Wife is still establishing the right of more than one marriage. At this point, the Pardoner interrupts.

In fact, Chaucer is particularly adept at portraying each of his pilgrims as an example of various strata within 14th century English society. She offers him a choice: an old ugly hag such as she, but still a loyal, true, and virtuous wife, or a beautiful woman with whom he must take his chances.

Having shown a knowledge of the Bible, she challenges anyone to show her that God commanded virginity. Once he realizes that he has no other choice he accepts. And though the friars rape women, just as the incubi did in the days of the fairies, the friars only cause women dishonor—the incubi always got them pregnant.

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The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale