Canterbury Tales

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In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, A band of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury take turns telling stories. The main characters of each pilgrim’s tale face their reckoning and whether they are punished or absolved; their judgment is specific to the pilgrim who told the tale. The Knight from the Wife of Bath’s tale is judged and forgiven when and the three men from the Pardoner’s tale meet their end when they let greed, what the Pardoner calls the root of evil, impair their judgment. The Knight’s judgment relates to the Wife of Bath mainly because the story she told depicted that when women took control, or had “sovereignty”, both husband and wife would live in harmony. In her story the Wife of Bath described how Queen Guinevere and her court of female saved the knight from death but only if he could find out what women desire most. The Knight searched to no avail, and finally stumbled upon an old hag. The wise hag gave the knight the right answer also claimed the right to have him as a husband. She reasoned with the knight about the advantages of having an old and ugly wife rather than a young and beautiful one. The hag convinced the knights that men made themselves noble through their deeds, not through inheritance. Though she was poor, the old lady pointed out that even God chose to live in poverty: “The hye God, on whom that we belive, in willful poverte chees to live his lyf” (lines 1184 – 1185). The Knight is saved when the old hag reveals what women what most is to be charge of their husbands. Later, the knight allowed the old women to take charge and he is rewarded when she transforms into a beautiful figure. The Wife if Bath’s Tale showed that when the wife had the upper hand in their marriage, they would be rewarded with a long and happy life together. Furthermore the Knight is not only saved but also rewarded when he became the kind of man who allowed his wife some control in the marriage. The judgment of the three men in the Pardoner’s tale...
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