wife of bath

The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer summary and analysis

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) was an English poet, writer, and philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets in the English language. He is best known for his work “The Canterbury Tales,” a collection of stories told by a group of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury. Chaucer’s writing was highly influential in the development of English literature, as he helped to establish the language as a legitimate literary medium. His work reflects the changing cultural and social landscape of medieval England, and his characters offer a window into the lives and perspectives of people from all walks of life. Here we have provided The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer summary and analysis:

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The Wife of Bath QNA

“The Wife of Bath” is a character in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, a collection of stories told by various pilgrims en route to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The Wife of Bath is a woman who has been married five times and is on a pilgrimage to the shrine. In her prologue, she shares her opinions on marriage and sex, asserting her own sexual agency and authority in relationships.

The Wife of Bath’s tale is a fairy tale about a knight who is granted a second chance by a loathly lady after he agrees to do her bidding. The loathly lady reveals that she is actually a young and beautiful woman who has been cursed by a wicked fairy. The knight marries her, and through his gentleness and love, the curse is lifted, and she becomes both beautiful and faithful.

The tale explores themes of power dynamics in relationships, the nature of true gentleness and love, and the idea that true beauty comes from within.


The main character in the “Wife of Bath” is Alison, also known as the Wife of Bath. She is a middle-aged woman who has been married five times and is on the lookout for her sixth husband. The other characters in the story are the Knight, who is on a quest to find out what women want most in the world, and the Queen, who gives the Knight a year to find the answer to his question.

Alison’s five husbands are also briefly mentioned in the story. The first three are described as being wealthy and old, while the fourth was younger and had a lover on the side. Alison’s fifth husband, Jankyn, is the one she is currently married to and he is the only one she actually loved.

There are also some minor characters in the story, such as the old woman who helps the Knight find the answer to his question and the King, who is the one who sentences the Knight to find the answer.


Some of the central themes in Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath” include:

Gender and Power: The Wife of Bath is a strong and assertive woman who challenges the traditional power dynamic between men and women in medieval society. She also speaks openly about her sexuality, challenging the traditional view that women should be modest and chaste.

Marriage and Relationships
: The Wife of Bath has been married five times, and she offers her own experience as evidence that women should have control in marriage and relationships. She also critiques the traditional Christian view that marriage should be celibate and ascetic.

Authority and Experience: The Wife of Bath is an authority on marriage and relationships, and she argues that her own experience gives her the knowledge to speak on these subjects. She also challenges the authority of the male-dominated church and argues for the importance of personal experience and individual interpretation of scripture.

Hypocrisy: The Wife of Bath is critical of the hypocrisy of those who claim to be pious and moral but are actually corrupt and immoral. She exposes the double standards of the male-dominated church and argues that true morality and piety come from personal experience and self-knowledge.

Social Class: The Wife of Bath is a member of the middle class, and she challenges the social hierarchies of medieval society. She argues that money and wealth should be used to achieve social mobility and that social status should be based on merit rather than birth.


“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is a work of literature by Geoffrey Chaucer that contains several literary devices. Some of the literary devices used in the tale include:

Irony: The Wife of Bath’s Tale is filled with irony, particularly in the way that it subverts traditional gender roles and societal expectations.

Satire: The tale is a form of satire, which critiques the institutions and social norms of Chaucer’s time, particularly in regard to gender and marriage.

Symbolism: The tale uses various symbols to represent larger ideas, such as the “old hag” representing inner beauty.

Allusion: The Wife of Bath’s Tale contains numerous allusions to classical literature and biblical stories.

Foreshadowing: The tale uses foreshadowing to hint at future events, such as the knight’s journey and his eventual redemption.

Imagery: The tale uses vivid sensory language to create a rich and detailed setting and to convey the emotions of the characters.

Frame narrative: The tale is part of a larger frame narrative in which the Wife of Bath tells her story as part of a group of pilgrims travelling to Canterbury.

Rhyme and meter: The tale is written in iambic pentameter and contains rhyming couplets, contributing to its musical and rhythmic quality.

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