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Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay - Marriage in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale

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Marriage in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale


The disparity in the outcomes of the hag's marriage and Alison's marriages in Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale" depends in part on the women's differing expectations of their husbands. The hag's modus agendi depends on a knight's obligation to honour his pledge, whereas Alison's modus operandi depends on her husbands' conduct after marriage, i.e. on her circumstances. Having saved the knight's life, the hag asks the knight to permit her to be his wife. Moreover, she wants to be his love. The knight must marry, since marrying the hag lies within his might. Since the hag's definition of being his wife includes her loving him, he is duty-bound to tolerate the hag's love. Her love for him requires he show compassion to her. Perforce of her line of reasoning of the advantages of being married to her, he accepts her sovereignty to have her will. The chains of her enchantment broken, the hag turns beautiful in the knight's eyes. He falls in love with her, and she realizes the right to rule in he...


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