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Wife of Bath Tale: Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Phoebe Josephson

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of Wife of Bath Tale: Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Wife of Bath Tale:
Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer

About the Wife of Bath
goes against marriage customs
not classically beautiful
enjoys having fun
went on previous pilgrimages: Jerusalem

The Tale
Discussion: Modern Connection
Project created by
Julia Choi
Phoebe Josephson
Eden Peykar

Ms. Goler
Period 7

The crime
The knight rapes a maiden.
The Trial
punishment for rape is usually death
Queen gives a quest instead
The Search
The Encounter
an ugly old lady offers help
knight must fulfill her wish in return
knight agrees to the deal
The Answer
knight answers correctly
his life is saved
The Promise
old woman's wish is to marry the knight
knight feels disgusted but has no choice
The Test
woman gives him two choices:
beautiful wife but disloyal
ugly old woman but loyal
knight allows her to choose what she wants
Happy Ending
old woman transforms to a beautiful AND loyal wife
they live happily ever after
shows her knowledge of women authority in marriage
questions religious matters
has been told that Jesus only went to one wedding
Her tale: out of her experience and help Pardoner and other young men
speaking with Pardoner: about marriage
a lot of sexual references
women in power emphasized
advice hinted
"A woman wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband as over her lover, and master him; he must not be above her...."

a year and a day to find what women want most in life
different answers from each person
Beauty and the Beast
"I know that Abraham was a holy man and Jacob too- I speak as best as I can-yet each of them, we know, had several brides, like many other holy man besides."
successful relationship despite physical appearances
religious references in Prologue
ex. Cana de Gaililee
ex. King Solomon
ex. Abraham and Jacob
Greek mythology
Midas's ears and his wife (shows how women can't keep secrets)
women have authority
treatment of women
role of women
Critical Thinking

How does the Wife of Bath's character relate to the tale?
What you Have to Do:
two teams
Answer questions correctly
2 points per question (partial credit will be given)
Winning team gets prize

Decipher Quotes
Describe what each quote means
How does each quote relate to themes?
What are some other modern connections?
Open-ended: points awarded for any group that tries
How do you think the Pardoner felt hearing that women want authority?
1. What crime did the knight commit?
2. How much time is given to the knight to find the answer?
3. What were some of the answers that the knight received (before meeting the old woman)? Say at least two.
4. What were the choices given to the knight by the old woman (a.k.a. his wife)?
Name another dominating woman figure besides the old woman.

Why do you think the Knight decided to rape the young virgin? What does this show about Chaucer's world?
Out of all the women characters in the tale, who do you think the Wife of Bath represents the most?
What is the moral of the story?
"My lady and my love, my dearest wife, I leave the matter to your wise decision"
Can you think of a modern figure that reminds you of wife of Bath?

How many times did she marry? Why is this not traditional?
Do you think that the punishment for the Knight was appropriate for his crime? Why or why not?
Prologue cont.
believes that she has the "gift" of pleasure
"Let them be pure wheat loaves of maidenhead and let us wives be known for barley-bread."
- told that virginity is perfection
- Bible also supports marriage
Full transcript