Wife of Bath

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Sarah Rable
Mr. Evans
English 11
27 November 2012
Maybe She’s Just Really Friendly…
Throughout the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer carves stories made specifically for each character. Each tale is purposely created based upon the characters personality and profession. It can be safe to argue that the Wife of Bath is the only person on the journey that is suited to tell her tale. The Wife and the character in her tale both show concern about age. Also, the Wife is very good conniving, as is the old woman in her tale. Finally, the Wife and the old woman have controlling personalities, as they both play on the mentality of men.

In her prologue, the Wife of Bath told the story of her troubled marital life. Married five times, she can’t comprehend why Christ would reject her. She’d rather take the quote from the bible, “to increase and multiply,” though she has no children. She continues on about her first three husbands, all of whom were wealthy and old. She states that she enjoys having complete control over them and having an upper hand in the marriage. The Wife’s fourth husband had a mistress, which bothered her that he took pleasure in other woman even when she was full of youth. The Wife of Bath’s fifth and final husband stood out among the others, as she married him for love rather than for money. They met at her fourth husband’s funeral and were married soon after, though she was twice his age. The Wife also mentions the abuse her new husband relinquished; he once hit her so hard on the ear that it caused her to become partially deaf. The deafening blow was delivered due to the ripping of pages out of Jenkin’s book of the sad fate of disobedient wives. Angry that her husband would read such things to her every night, she ripped three pages out and slapped him across his cheek. Out of anger, Jenkin hit her, causing her one ear to become deaf. She then made a dramatic show over it, causing her husband to feel remorse. He then burned the book and agreed to...
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