Look again at the portrait of the wife of bath and the two extracts from her prologue. What do we learn about the wife of bath and her relationships with husbands? How does Chaucer convey this information? The “Wife of Bath” is an extraordinary character who we learn about in a Prologue and two extracts. During a pilgrimage, she is made to tell her story but we learn much more about her than just her story. This essay will deal with the “Wife of Bath”, her character and her relationships.
It will also provide an insight into her character, relationships, ways of life etc. It will also analyze Chaucer’s style of writing and how he displayed this information to the reader. The prologue allows the reader to have some knowledge on the wife of bath. It tells us many characteristics about the wife for example she revealed to be a religious person. Chaucer shows this in the Prologue when he says, ” And three times she had been at Jerusalem” “She had been at Rome and Boulogne” All these places mentioned are known to be religious places in the world.
The wife of bath also had five husbands and other affairs on the side as well and this is mentioned in the Prologue as well. Her wealth is shown when Chaucer talks about her clothing. Chaucer said ” Her kerchiefs were of fine fabrics” “Her hoses were of fine scarlet red”. The author also told us that the wife of bath was tempered and well respected in the society. This was illustrated when he said, “In all parish there was no wife entitled to make her offering before she” “And if one did certainly she was so angry that she was out of all charity”.
The Wife of Bath has five husbands, her first three husbands were good and her last two were bad according to her. Her first extract told the reader more about her three good husbands. Her first three husbands were all rich, old and they treated her very well, whereas she did not care at all about them. She says “I laugh when I think pitifully I made them work at night” “They had given me their land and their treasure, I no longer needed to be diligent” “for god knows I chided them cruelly”.
The wife of bath indirectly tells the reader that she married the first three husbands for money and did not care of them at all. When she says about chiding them cruelly it shows how she mistreated her first three good husbands. She was also an unworthy wife, as she lied to her husbands and than accused them of having affairs when she herself had the affairs. She proves it when she says “You should speak thus and put them in the wrong For no man can perjure himself and lie half as boldly as a women”
Hear she also encouraged other women to lie to their husbands because she herself did so. The second extract talks about her last two husbands who the Wife of Bath refers as “bad”. The fourth husband was the most hated by the Wife of Bath. He treated her very badly, and she uses words like “reveller” and “lecher” to describe him. She hated him the most, because he had other affairs unlike her previous husbands, she says, “he had a paramour”. She is also concerned about her age and how her age affected her beauty; she believes this to be the reason why he did not love her.
“But age, alas that poisons everything,” “has robbed me of my beauty and pith”. In return, she used to have affairs just to make him jealous she proves it when she says “But indeed my manner with other men was such, That I made him fry in his own grease”. She hated her relationship with the fourth husband and she indirectly says she was glad he was dead “It would have been just a waste to bury him expensively”. The Wife of Bath describes the relationship with her fifth husband different to all her other husbands and the reader finds it ironic.
She loved her fifth husband the most although he treated her worse than her fourth husband. ” God never let his soul go to hell! ” is what she says, this proves that she really loves him a lot. ” He was the most brutal to that I can feel on my ribs all the down the row”. When she says that she meant that no matter how much barbarous he was to her, she really loved him with her soul. Some reasons to why she loved him the most was that he was cruel in his love to her, but at the same-time, he was cool and she says “Whatever we cannot get easily get, We will cry after and crave all day”.
Here is another reason why she loved him, because she could not get his love no matter how hard she tried and to her a women’s wanting is ‘the thing they cannot get easily. So to conclude Chaucer was trying to convey a couple of things to the reader. One was how women were during the medieval times and the fact that women can lie and be as nasty when they want to, and also that it is not only men who are capable of being cruel. One other thing he proved was that love is much more important than money. Although the Wife of Bath collects lots of money from her relationships.
In the end, she never got the most important thing in this world, which is love. One other thing the Wife of Bath told the reader was that women are good liars and they should lie and take advantage of it, the Wife of Bath tried to encourage women to lie. Which was what she did with her first three husbands, according to her it worked to lie so she suggested to other women. Chaucer was trying to put a message into the reader’s mind and that was women have this habit to achieve something which is very difficult to get, they always try to get whatever they cannot get.
In this case, the wife of bath tried to win the love of her fifth husband, which she could not succeed in. I think that Chaucer wrote this piece of writing to tell people women’s role in the Medieval times and how women were treated and how cunning women can be as well.