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Essay about Comparing the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale

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In Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem The Canterbury Tales a young Chaucer tells of the people he meets on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett in Canterbury. One of the most vivacious characters on the pilgrimage is The Wife of Bath. Both the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale share a common theme of a woman’s control in a relationship with a man. The Wife of Bath and the old hag in her tale share a similar perspective on what women want most in life. In the prologue and tale the reader is exposed to the idea that what women most desire in life is to have control over their husbands and lovers. This tale and its prologue are linked through the way that Dame Alice, the Wife of Bath, fashions the old hag in her tale after herself.
Wife of Bath begins her prologue asserting herself as a marriage expert, she “… knew remedies for love’s mischances, an art in which she knew the oldest dances” (485-486). The Wife believes that her expertise comes from the simple fact that she has been married to five different husbands and is looking for her sixth. The husbands that Dame Alice had, "t...


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