Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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Character Analysis of The Wife of Bath of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's greatest and most memorable work. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses "a fictitious pilgrimage [to Canterbury] as a framing device for a number of stories" (Norton 79). In "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes in detail the pilgrims he meets in the inn on their way to Canterbury. Chaucer is the author, but also a character and the narrator, and acts like a reporter to provide a detailed description of the pilgrims. Through his description, the reader is able to paint a picture of each of the characters. In "The General Prologue," he describes each character by giving a detailed description of the…show more content…
In "The General Prologue," Chaucer describes the Wife of Bath as a deaf, gap-toothed woman. She has a bold face and wears ten pounds of "coverchiefs" and a hat on her head (Chaucer 91). She wears a skirt with red stockings and tight-laced supple shoes. She is also a great weaver and has been on many pilgrimages. She is described in "The General Prologue" as being a worthy woman who has only had five husbands. She knows all the remedies of love and is an expert at and preaches and practices the art of love. In her "Prologue," the Wife of Bath starts out by saying she is a believer in experience rather than authority. She says, "Experience, though noon auctoritee Were in this world, is right ynough for me" (Chaucer 117). The Wife of Bath has been married since the age of twelve and has had five husbands. So she definitely has a lot of experience in the area of sex and marriage. Therefore, she says that she is a strong believer in experience as opposed to written authority such as the Bible. She does not see anything wrong with the fact that she has had five husbands, because she says that even God wants man to increase and multiply: "God bad is for to wexe and multiplye: that gentil text can I wel understonde" (Chaucer 117). In fact, she is going on this pilgrimage to Canterbury with the hope of finding her sixth husband. Even though the Wife of Bath says she is a believer in experience rather than authority, she often quotes and uses the Bible to support her

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