And all were worthy men in their way. That I should be wedded but once. Spoke in reproof of the Samaritan: Is not thy husband,' thus he said certainly.
Summary Analysis In the days of King Arthur, Britain was filled with fairies and elves, unlike now, when lecherous friars roam around the land. Although the friars rape women, just as incubi used to do in the days of fairies, women only lose their dishonor: Even though the Wife of Bath sets her fable in the romantic realm of Arthurian legend, she takes the opportunity to retaliate against the Friar, who has just rudely interrupted her.
Overcome with desire, he rapes her. The court is outraged, and according to law, the knight should be beheaded. The knight gets the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and to become more humble through an educational journey. Active Themes The knight sets forth sorrowfully through the countryside and asks the question of every woman he meets.
Some say riches; some say honor; some, jolliness; lust; clothes; etc. Some say that women want to be free. The only shortcoming that women have according to the Wife of Bath——that is, their inability to keep secrets——is the only thing that can save the young knight.
Although the Wife of Bath primarily relies on her own experience to give her authority, she can also use literary examples like the story of King Midas to back up her claims. Active Themes The day comes when the knight must return to court. As he is riding past the forest, he sees a group of women dancing and decides to ask them his question.
But before he can come close, the dancers vanish, and only an ugly old woman remains. She asks him what his question is, and he promises to reward her if she can tell him what women want.
The old woman says that she can help him, but he must pledge his life to her. The knight agrees, and she whispers a message in his ear. The disappearing dancers signify the presence of magic in the area. The ugly but wise old hag is a stock character in Arthurian legends: The knight, who has thus far failed in his quest, has no choice but to submit to her demands if he has any hope of keeping his life.
He tells them that women desire sovereignty over their husbands and lovers. The women in the audience agree that this is the right answer, and his life is spared.
Active Themes At that moment, the old woman comes forward and demands that the knight marry her. The knight recoils in horror, begging her to take his possessions instead of his body, but the old woman insists, and he is forced to wed and bed her, and the knight is miserable the whole time.
Even though the knight begs to get out of his contract to marry the ugly old woman, everybody involved or witnessing——the old hag, the queen, even the knight himself——know that the knight is bound by his promise.
The old woman reminds him that true gentleness and character are on the inside, not the outside. Sons of noble blood may be villainous; true poverty, she says, is in greed and longing for what you do not have. She takes it for granted that he would be unhappy with an ugly woman, but reminds him that beauty is on the inside.
Active Themes The old woman gives the knight a choice. She can remain ugly but faithful and virtuous; or she can be beautiful, but he must take his chances that she may stray and cuckold him.
The knight thinks for a while, then says that the choice is hers, thus granting her sovereignty. It is unclear whether or not the knight genuinely, deep in his heart, wants to give the old woman the choice or whether he recognizes her question as a riddle and gives her the answer she wants to hear.
Active Themes Since the knight gives her the authority to choose for herself, the old woman says that she will be both beautiful and true. She tells him to kiss her, and when he does so, she transforms into a young woman, and they live happily ever after. The Wife of Bath concludes with a plea that Christ send all women meek, young, and fresh husbands who will not outlive their wives.
Retrieved October 3, The Wife of Bath's Prologue. The Prologe of the Wyves Tale of Bathe. 1 "Experience, though noon auctoritee "Experience, though no written authority 2 Were in this world, is right ynogh for me Were in this world, is good enough for me. The Wife of Bath's Tale tells a story from a distant time, when King Arthur ruled the nation and when elves used to run around impregnating women.
However, the Wife immediately digresses: now friars have taken the place of elves - they are now the copulating, evil spirits. Summary.
Before the Wife begins her tale, she shares information about her life and her experiences in a prologue. The Wife of Bath begins her lengthy prologue by announcing that she has always followed the rule of experience rather than authority.
Having already had five husbands "at the church door," she has experience enough to make her an . For example, says the Wife of Bath, in such a rant, she would ask why the neighbor’s wife looks so pleased with herself.
Some men, she claims, only want women for their looks, some for their money, some for their figure, some for their gentleness. The Wife of Bath's Tale. Heere bigynneth the Tale of the Wyf of Bathe. In th' olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour, In the old days of King Arthur, Of which that Britons speken greet honour, Of whom Britons speak great honor, Al was this land fulfild of fayerye.
This land was all filled full of supernatural creatures. Prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale “Experience”, even if no written authorities existed in the world, “is right ynogh for me”.
Thus begins the voice of the Wife of Bath.