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Wyfe of Bathe A Wyfe For All Ages

The Wyf of Bathe, one of the many characters in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, is a feminist of the fourteenth century. Chaucer, in the “General Prologue,” describes her as promiscuous. The Wyf confirms this claim in the prologue to her tale, the longest in the book. An analysis of the “General Prologue” and the “Wyf’s Prologue” reveals a direct relationship between the Wyf of Bathe and the characters in her tale, such as the knight, queen, and ugly woman.There is a direct correlation between the physical characteristics of the Wyf of Bathe and the thematic structure of her tale. The way Chaucer describes her, gives the reader an “inside” view to the Wyf of Bathe. In the “General Prologue”, for example, Chaucer describes her as “a good Wyf”(447) and not by her real name, giving the impression that she is overly dependant on men. Chaucer mentions that the Wyf goes on many pilgrimages. She does not go for the religious experience, but to meet a new husband. She travels the earth, in search of another man to be dependant on. He writes, ”In al the parisshe wyf ne was ther noon/That to th’ offring before hir sholde goon”(451). Chaucer also describes her as wearing fine clothing. “Hir coverchiefs ful fine were of ground”(455). She wears “shoos ul moist and newe”(459), and “hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed” (458) symbolizes her fiery temper and stubborn personality. Also, by the expensive clothing, it appears that, although not nobility, she tries to give off the impression of being noble. She is “gat-tothed,”(470) implying promiscuity, as well as with “hir hipes large,”(474) that keep her up on her “amblere”(471).The Wyf of Bathe’s domination of men parallels the aspiration of the knight in her tale. As a punishment for rape, the queen sends the k...

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