The Wife of Bath Quotes by Geoffrey Chaucer
Wife of Bath Prologue & Tale - Key Quotes
But sith I hadde hem hoolly in myn hond, And sith they hadde me yeven all hir lond, What sholde I taken keep hem for to plese, But if it were for my profit and myn ese? Here the Wife reveals how control over material possessions, like land, leads to power in a relationship. When she has this control, she has no need to try to please her husband. This statement raises a chicken-or-egg question, though, about which comes first: does power come from control of material wealth, or does a woman gain control over material wealth because she has power over husband? I governed hem so wel after my lawe That ech of hem ful blisful was and fawe To bringe me gaye thinges fro the fayre.
Reference to polygamy in the bible as a defence of her multiple marriages.
All rights reserved. Marriage Quotes. For lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age, Thonked be God that is eterne on lyve But wel I woot expres, withoute lye, God bad us for to wexe and multiplye: That gentil text can I wel understonde. A wys womman wol bisye hire evere in oon To gete hire love, ye, ther as she hath noon. Th'Apostel, whan he speketh of maydenhede, He seyde that precept therof hadde he noon. Men may conseille a womman to been oon, But conseilling is no comandement: He putte it in oure owene jugement
The Wife of Bath begins the Prologue to her tale by establishing herself as an authority on marriage, due to her extensive personal experience with the institution. Since her first marriage at the tender age of twelve, she has had five husbands. She says that many people have criticized her for her numerous marriages, most of them on the basis that Christ went only once to a wedding, at Cana in Galilee. She says that men can only guess and interpret what Jesus meant when he told a Samaritan woman that her fifth husband was not her husband. With or without this bit of Scripture, no man has ever been able to give her an exact reply when she asks to know how many husbands a woman may have in her lifetime. God bade us to wax fruitful and multiply, she says, and that is the text that she wholeheartedly endorses.
Geoffrey Chaucer. Canterbury Tales. Discussion Forum. Chaucer himself was a prime example of new social mobility being granted to members of the emerging middle class. He had opportunities to come into contact not only with earthy characters from varied ports of call, but with the wealthy nobility. As a member of this changing society, Chaucer had a keen perception of the attitudes and philosophies which were emerging and shaping the roles specific to people's lives.