The Wife of Bath

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Ellen Skiff
English 11 CP, Period 2
The Canterbury Tales Character Analysis
December 4, 2009

Character Analysis of the Wife of Bath

➢ Profession

In the times of Chaucer, women were inferior to men. They were expected to be obedient, and polite. In reality, women worked and did what they wanted to do. Many became skilled tradesmen and were employed in workshops (“Medieval Women”). In The Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath developed a talent for weaving cloth. She did not create cloth to sell, but she made it for herself. She liked to be well dressed and look superior to her peers. “In making cloth she showed such great a bent she bettered those of both Ypres and Ghent.” (547-458). In Medieval times Ypres and Ghent were both cities at the top of the cloth manufacturing business. (“Prologue”). This shows that The Wife of Bath was talented, and liked to wear the most beautiful and flashy clothes.

“Medieval Women.” Castle Learning Center. 2008. December 7, 2009. .

“Prologue.” The Literature Network. 2009. December 7, 2009. .

➢ Quote One- “Her hose were of finest scarlet red and gathered tight; her shoes were soft and new.” (466-467)

The Wife lacks attractive physical features, so she tries to make up for them in fashionable and flashy clothing. She wears the finest fabrics from her own make, and dying them in expensive, and rare dyes. The color scarlet dye she uses in her dress was extremely rare to find in Medieval times, therefore expensive. It also symbolizes lust; a very large part of her life. Leather was the material of choice for shoes in Medieval times. Having leather shoes that were “soft and new” (467) was a symbol of wealth, and class. This symbolizes to the reader that she is bold and likes to show off her talents as a weaver (“Character Analysis”).

“Character Analysis.” The Historical Perception of The Wife of Bath. 1998. December 8, 2009. . .
➢ Quote Two- “She’d had five husbands, all at the...
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