Wife Of Bath's Prologue

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Although these eighteen lines of the Wife of Bath Prologue are transcribed into modern English, they are in non-iambic, but rhyming verse. While translating these lines from Middle English to modern English, I did not consider rewriting them in iambic feet because it does not fit in with our contemporary literature. That is, Chaucer most likely felt the need to write in iambic-pentameter because he had competition from other writers like Giovanni Boccaccio and Dante Alighieri. In fact, Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue receives major influence from Jean de Meun’s From the Romance of the Rose, i.e. the old woman who gives a speech about men. In other words, I do not need to put my modern translation into iambic pentameter because this style…show more content…
For example, I use the terms, “matriarch,” “beseech,” “cost,” and “lost” because they instantly transform the wife’s stock character into a dominating female. This kind of rhetoric also affects the social relationship between the wife and the pilgrims because she now has characters, like the Pardoner, who are eager to hear her story. It is crucial to keep in mind that I did not give the wife a new socio-economic title, but one that complements her experience as a matriarch. I also use the word, “cost,” because it implies that she now holds the authority, as the Pardoner implies, to face social restrictions. The word, “lost,” has multiple meanings here: it is an echo to all the women who lost their lives for speaking out against social norms because they did not have the same power as the wife; the word also refers to the time when the wife lost her place in her own tale: “But now, sire, lat me se what I shal seyn” (585). The next two lines is when the reader witnesses the wife’s transformation, that is, according to the Pardoner, the wife now represents a teacher figure: “Reveal your wisdom, and enlighten everyman,/ So we can learn, or have some who understand.” It is important here to acknowledge the social class dynamics between the wife and the Pardoner; that is to…show more content…
So, instead of the wife simply making an advisory statement, she now instructs the pilgrims: “you will swear not to aggress .” Although this is the wife’s first immunity disclaimer, I also add the word, “swear,” because it produces a complication: that is, the wife requires a religious oath from the pilgrims before presenting her story about ideas of adultery and death. The reason why I choose to complicate these lines is because the wife likes the idea of confusing her audience as one can interpret in the next quatrain. I choose these words for these four lines because they further reiterate the socio-economic disadvantages between characters. For example, I use the word, “booze,” instead of, “wine” because this usage of slang perfectly fits in with the idea that her story is not merely for the nobility class, but everyman. I maintain the wife’s modesty topos for a second time because it ironically creates humoristic confusion: “I will only be honest, so you do not confuse .” That is to say, if the wife agrees only on telling a tale her own way, why does she mention honesty?—this is the wife’s first attempt to purposely confuse her audience by complicating her narrative. In fact, she admits to being dishonest when
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