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Canterbury Tales Lines 796-799 Of The Prologue

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Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, an anthology of stories in a framework story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury and tell stories. The most amusing and at the same time filled with astuteness is the story told by the Wife Of the Bath who is depicted in the prologue by the narrator as “In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon (lines 451-452).


The wife of the bath relates the story of a knight who assaults a women and as a penalty for the offense is cast out by the queen and ordered to find what women desire the most, the answer is given to him by an old hag who agrees to give him the answer, only if he marries her in return. And when the knight comes to the queen he says “My lige lady, generally, Wommen desiren to have sovereynetee. (Lines 1044-1045)

The story ends with the knight marrying the old hag and then using the knowledge given to him by the old woman to answer a question that she asks him, since the knight allows her to choose whatever she thinks best, the old hag turns into a young woman who is both fair and good.


The different stories told by all the pilgrims serve different purposes, the wife of bath tells her story to share her experiences and to reveal the true nature of women. Its not the story itself, but the style of narration is what makes it amusing, as the wife gives an account of all her husbands, before actually beginning the tale, which makes it the most delightful tale in comparison to the other tales, meanwhile it also carries within itself a moral and a lesson for all the men present their, as they all seem to be complaining about their wives or women in general.


  1. Geoffrey Chaucer (1997) Canterbury Tales. Taken From :


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