One of two female storytellers (the other is the Prioress), the Wife has a lot of experience under her
belt. She has traveled all over the world on pilgrimages, so Canterbury is a jaunt compared to other perilous journeys she has endured. Not only has she seen many lands, she has lived with five husbands. She is worldly in both senses of the word: she has seen the world and has experience in the ways of the world, that is, in love and sex
The Canterbury Tales is more than an estates satire because the characters are fully individualized creations rather than simple good or bad examples of some ideal type. Many of them seem aware that they inhabit a socially defined role and seem to have made a conscious effort to redefine their prescribed role on their own terms. The Wife of Bath is one of Chaucer s most enduring characters, and rightly, one of the most famous of any of the Canterbury pilgrims. Her voice is extremely distinctive loud, self-promoting, extremely aggressive and her lengthy prologue silences the Pardoner and the Friar (who is then parodied at the start of the Tale) for daring to interrupt her. . The General Prologue describes her as being swathed in textile, and, of course, textere , the Latin verb meaning to weave is the key to a close relationship between cloth and text in the Middle Ages. For the Wife, as well as being excellent at spinning a tale, is also excellent at spinning cloth and is surrounded, problematically in text in just the way the Prologue has her covered in cloth. When, at the very end of her tale, the lothly lady implores her husband to cast up the curtyn and see her as she really is, she
They go together to Arthur¶s queen. and the Summoner promises to tell a tale about a friar. The old woman then tells the knight that he must marry her. for love instead of money. and the Summoner retorts that friars are like flies. to atone for his crime. He agrees. always meddling. and the old woman¶s answer turns out to be correct. An ugly old woman promises the knight that she will tell him the secret if he promises to do whatever she wants for saving his life. After the Wife has rambled on for a while. The Friar promises to tell a tale about a summoner. and she rewards him for giving her control of the marriage by rendering herself both beautiful and faithful.
. She married her fifth husband. she gives him a choice: she can either be ugly and faithful. and she explains how she dominated and controlled each of her five husbands. and she tells him women want control of their husbands and their own lives. When the knight confesses later that he is repulsed by her appearance. In her tale. Jankyn. a young knight of King Arthur¶s court rapes a maiden.The Wife of Bath gives a lengthy account of her feelings about marriage. Quoting from the Bible. The knight tells her to make the choice herself. or beautiful and unfaithful. Arthur¶s queen sends him on a quest to discover what women want most. the Wife argues against those who believe it is wrong to marry more than once. The Host cries for everyone to quiet down and allow the Wife to commence her tale. the Friar butts in to complain that she is taking too long.