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An Analysis Of The Wife Of Bath’s Tale

1058 words - 4 pages

The Wife Of Bath’s Tale is a magnificent story, that relates and under covers what every women wants, and what every man dreads. This tale is very unique concerning how rebellious it was to the views of the time period it was written in and even in the values that are set in stone today. Chaucer did an excellent job of expressing his outward views towards the subject of how women should be treated. The story starts off with a Knight who has just been convicted on the crimes of rape on a young lady, he is condemned to death by hanging, until the queen chirps up and makes a deal with him, if he can come back in one year and a day and tell her what every women wants then he will be hanged. The knight runs around for that entire year, soul searching throughout the kingdom trying to solve this impossible riddle. He returns from whence he came to no avail, until his encounter with the old haggardly lady. She is of an ugly sort that the knight as a last resort asks for an answer to his riddle to save his soul. She agrees, but only if he will do something for him in return, and the came to an agreement. The Knight then comes before his queen and states his newfound knowledge, which she is completely taken aback that he has figured out the solution to her riddle. After he is released, the old lady comes back up to him and reminds him of the deal that they struck not so long ago, but its a cliffhanger. The old lady wants to marry him. He is wary and at first completely disagreed saying that anything else would be a better solution to the wager, but the old women is persistent and he finally agrees. They get married shortly after, a very private affair, and then the story switches to their wedding bed. The knight is completely dreading this moment, and is having trouble with the whole situation, when the lady comes in. When the knight refuses his wedding bed formalities, the lady is appalled and goes on to lecture this unforgiving knight how you cannot be born into gentlemanly hood but only earn it, which he hasn't done the latter. Then she offers him an ultimatum for her to be beautiful and risk being unfaithful or an ugly best friend forever. The knight has learned his lesson with women and states, “‘my lady and my love, my dearest wife, I leave the matter to your wise decision. You make the choice yourself, for the provision Of what may be agreeable and rich In honor to us both, I don’t care which; Whatever pleases you suffices me.’”(Page 149 Lines 376-381). She decides that she will be both, and then they live happily ever after. The Wife of Bath is a very interesting tale with a lesson learned and multiple connections to how people should act today, as well as the past.
Initially, the knight in the Wife of Bath is charged with the riddle, of what does every...

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