The Wife Of Bath's Tale Analysis

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In Chaucer’s, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” we as readers get to experience the story of a Knight’s journey to find the answer to the question: What is it that every woman desires? The Knight is given the task by the queen with permission from her husband. This story is told by the Wife of Bath who is introduced to us in “The General Prologue” by Chaucer. In the prologue we get insight as to who the Wife of Bath is by her experiences as a woman who has been married five times and how she wants authority over her husbands. Throughout the story of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” we see the recurring theme of power; whether it is women’s power over their husbands, the old woman’s power over the knight, or the handing over of power to man. In “The General…show more content…
There are many similarities between the wife and the old woman in their sense of humor in the bedroom and in marriage. For example, the Wife would tease her husbands in bed, she would refuse intimacy if he did not give her money. She tells the pilgrims, “that each of them was very blissful and eager to bring me gay things from the fair. They were very glad when I spoke to them pleasantly, for, God knows it, I cruelly scolded them” (The Wife of Bath’s Prologue, Line 220). When she mentions how crude she was to her husband’s we can see the similarities between her and the old woman, for in her tale when the old woman is in bed with the knight she teases him by saying, “Does every knight behave thus with his wife as you do?” (The Wife of Bath’s Tale, Line 1088). The old woman begs the question of her husband that if he had the choice, “to have me ugly and old until I die, and to be to you a true, humble wife, and never displease you in all my life, or else you will have me young and fair, and take your chances of the crowd” she tells him to choose and he says to choose whichever shall be most pleasing to her (The Wife of Bath’s Tale…show more content…
Women are granted authority many times throughout the tale and by the Wife requiring dominance over her multiple husbands in order to be satisfied in their marriage. There is an underlying theme of feminism throughout the work that reveals itself by asking the question what it is that women really desire. As readers we can see that the answer is sovereignty over their husbands but that begs the questions is it power over them or just the husbands’ willingness to yield sovereignty to their
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