How Does The Change In The Wife Of Bath's Tale

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While the main character of The Wife Of Bath’s Tale began with little respect or understanding of women, after undergoing a long journey and learning valuable lessons, he seemed to better understand women, and give them equal respect. Several events from the story in particular triggered this change in the Knight: his initial punishment, reaction to the old woman’s request, and his decision on their wedding night.

The story begins with the Knight stumbling upon a young woman while traveling, and as the text states, “...Spite of all she said, by very force he took her maidenhead,” meaning he raped the woman. Word of his crime swiftly traveled to the king, and he was condemned to be executed. This was later revoked, and the queen sent him on his quest to find what women most desire. His initial action of raping a woman clearly shows that he feels no respect for women, for no person who treats others with dignity would do such a crime.

The Knight eventually came to end of his journey with no more information than when he first started, but he then met an old woman who promised to help him if he obeyed what she asked of him. When it was later revealed that she wished …show more content…

The old woman eventually gives him a choice; she will become young and beautiful, but an unfaithful wife, or she will remain her current age and stay true to the Knight throughout her life. Contrasting his actions in the past, the Knight chooses to say, “My lady and my love, my dearest wife, I leave the matter to your wise decision...Whatever pleases you suffices me.” The woman, joyful with his response, magically becomes both young and loyal and the two have a happy relationship. These words from the Knight show that he has learned from his past mistakes; instead of taking advantage a woman, or refusing to respect a woman based on appearance, he treated her with equal respect, and gave her the right to choose her own

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