Essay on The Wife of Bath

751 Words Dec 10th, 2006 4 Pages
The Wife of Bath Prologue and Tale
In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath seems to be one of the more cheerful characters on the pilgrimage. She has radical views about women and marriage in a time when women were expected to be passive toward men. There are many things consistent between The Wife of Bath's prologue and her tale. The most obvious similarity that clearly shows the comparison between the prologue and the tale is dominance of both women over their husbands.
The Wife of Bath is dominant over all five of her husbands and although she struggles with her fifth husband to gain the control in the marriage, she nevertheless in the end accomplishes her initial intention. The Wife of Bath seems to be only
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The significant relationship between the prologue and the tale is the likeness between both the fifth husband and the knight. In the beginning both of the men disrespected their women. The Wife of Bath's husband read from his book of wicked women, and at times reading out loud to her. For his disdain of women he was punished by his wife when she ripped out the pages in is book. The knight disrespected women by harshly violating a maiden. The knight was punished for raping a maiden by the queen. Instead of executing the knight, the queen decides that he should have one year to discover what women want most in the world and report it back to the court. The Wife of Bath and her fifth husband only realized genuine happiness once he gave all sovereignty over to his wife. After he has agreed to that, both he and his wife live in harmony, "From that day forward there was no debate. So help me God I was as kind to him as any wife from Denmark to the rim of India, and as true" (Chaucer 280). The knight as well had to give his wife, the old woman, control in order to be able to live happily. By letting her make her own decisions he was rewarded by living an enchanting life, "So they lived ever after to the end in perfect bliss" (Chaucer 292).
Consequently, these three claims help support the idea that the Wife of Bath's Tale represents her life, or at least what she described of it in her prologue.
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