Wife of Bath - Chaucer

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Colin Roy
English 2401-001
Close Reading Assignment #1
2.10.2013

The poem “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” by Geoffrey Chaucer, is a very unique and interesting piece of dramatic poetry. It is certainly considered dramatic poetry due to its lack of focus on God, nature, and the universe, which would classify it as epic poetry, and its lack of musical or emotional connection to the reader, which would classify it as lyric poetry. Instead, it is a narrative piece with both rhythm and imagery about this woman who is describing her experiences with the church after going through 5 marriages since the age of 12. In fact, some may consider it to be lyrical poetry as well due to its intention of being sung with music, although the properties of the writing fit more with dramatic poetry than lyrical poetry for me. As we read on past the prologue and throughout the rest of Chaucer’s poem, it’s discovered that the point of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is to satirically criticize the Church. This poem is written in iambic pentameter structure. This means that each line consists of five individual feet, each following the pattern of an unstressed then a stressed syllable. Each of these feet is called an iamb. This means that every line ends with a stressed syllable, one that will rhyme with the following line, creating a series of couplets. Thus, the end rhyme of this poem follows the pattern of “a, a, b, b, c, c, …” and so on. This pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables and couplet end rhymes is what gives this poem its musical feel and rhythm, and makes it as fun and interesting as it is. What makes this poem so unique is how masterfully it is written. Not only does it precisely follow the structure I described above, but also it is written in a very Old English language, one that is completely foreign to us today. This makes it more difficult, yet more exciting to read in my opinion. Also, it can be observed how quickly Chaucer gets across his...
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