In The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, the narrator introduces many characters in “The Prologue.” Twenty-nine strangers embark on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, one of them being the Wife of Bath. In “The General Prologue”, “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, the Wife of Bath is described in a very critical, yet amusing way.
In “The General Prologue” the narrator introduces the characters in order of who he likes the best, to who he likes the least. The Wife of Bath is in the middle of that list, somewhat near the end. She is not the prettiest woman, “Bold was her face, handsome, and red in hue (GP 468).” She is also very flashy in her clothes and attitude:
Her kerchiefs were of finely woven ground;
I dared have sworn they weighed a good ten pound,
The ones she wore on Sunday, on her head.
Her hose were of the finest scarlet red
The Wife of Bath is full of herself, she likes to be the first woman in church to give donations, but if someone was to give before her she would rather keep her money then be second. She made pilgrimages like this one to Canterbury to find men, she...
The roles of who deals with the knight are switched. When the king declares one thing, the queen and ladies decide another. “Ceaselessly, he gave the queen the case,” and she gives the knight one year to find what women truly want (WBT 72). At the end of that year the knight meets an old hag who gives him the answer in exchange for his hand in marriage. The Wife of Bath tells a story where message is that women should be obeyed in all matters. The queen and ladies of the court decide the Knights fate instead of the men and the old hag, being everything the Knight despises, ends up being his savior. In the Wife of Bath’s life she is the old hag. She may not be beautiful or young, but she knows what she wants and gets...
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