The Wife Of Bath In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales is a narrative written by Geoffrey Chaucer. In “The General Prologue” to the Canterbury Tales, many different characters are introduced, all of whom are on a pilgrimage to see Thomas a Becket’s shrine in Canterbury. One character in particular that is interestingly described in “The General Prologue,” “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is the Wife of Bath herself. Through her description in “The Prologue,” her hideous appearance and personality are made apparent through young Chaucer’s explanation of her attention-seeking self; in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” the history of her past love life and manipulative ways are revealed; in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” her story of the knight and old woman…show more content…
It also directly states in “The General Prologue” the amount of husbands she’s had – 5 – all without divorce. Through the lines, “And knew the remedies for love’s mischances, /An art in which she knew the oldest dances,” it is implied that she is an expert in love and knows a lot about it through years of experience. (GP 485-486) Therefore, she knows all the right tricks to play on men to get both who and what she wants. In “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, the Wife reveals many secrets about her life, especially those involving men. She mentions her past husbands and lovers and how she loves to control them, stating that all women should do so with men too. She can’t live without men, and so we find out that she is on the pilgrimage in search of her sixth husband. In regards to her previous husbands, she discusses how she manipulated them. I managed them so well by my technique Each was delighted to go out and seek and buy some pretty things for me to wear, Happy if I as much as spoke them fair. (WBP 94-97) This is indirectly referring to her conniving ways which she used to get her husbands to buy her gifts and waste their money on her. They became happy if she acted nicely towards them and that’s all they needed, and she acted nicely if she got what she wanted. In her mind, everyone
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