The Wife of Bath’s Tale The Cure to all Love’s Ills Quick Discussion Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: a promise should never be broken? Explain. What is more important faithfulness or beauty? You have to pick one, explain your choice. How far would you go to save your life? Do the wealthy live above the law? Explain. Does the class a person comes from make a difference in their character? Explain. What is the most important factor in a happy marriage? What do women want… most? What do women want… most? Write the best response you got, as you tell us the answer to such an age old question…. (trust me, I’m trying to figure it out… For the sake of all men) How does answering this question help us understand human nature? Write your answer on a separate sheet, but leave space to revisit it later! Frame Narrative/ Envelope structure The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer: 29 pilgrims on their way to… Each Tale occurs within The Canterbury Tales “The Pardoner’s Tale” “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” Tale within “Wife of Bath’s Tale” Setting Thomas Becket Murdered: 1170 Time and Place of the Story The Canterbury Tales Spring time; Sometime after the Murder—some say as early as between 1171-1173; some say much later 1381 Time and Place of the Tale “The Wife of Bath” During the reign of legend King Arthur Long before 1170 Wife of Bath An early Feminist Church’s anti-feminine tendencies Conflict b/t bookish male “auctoritee” (authority) and female “experience” Knowledge of books Knowledge of the world “Expert Wife” Final husband, Johnny, finally learned what women want most Knight demonstrates this idea Frame Narrative/ Envelope structure The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer: 29 pilgrims on their way to… Each Tale occurs within The Canterbury Tales “The Pardoner’s Tale” “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” Tale within “Wife of Bath’s Tale”: King Midas Overview In Part 1, the Wife defends marriage (as opposed to virginity) In Part 2, the Wife describes her married life In Part 3, the Wife describes her final husband Jankyn and their arguments over the “Book of Wicked Wives” In the Tale itself, the Wife tells us of a rapis knight who must answer a riddle to save his life: What is it that women most desire? The Church’s Hierarchy Virgins Widows who don’t remarry Married women “It was felt that God must love virgins most and that married people came a very poor third in his affections.” ---------------------------------------------------------God Men Women Animals In the course of her Prologue she seems to confirm as many stereotypes as she confronts. There's no question at all, though, that she gets your attention. In the late classical period, a lot of authors wrote treatises about the disadvantages of being married, particularly for men who hoped to have careers as scholars and thinkers. 1. Wives would talk your ear off, preventing you from getting any work done. 2. Wives would demand that you make lots of money to pay for their extravagant lifestyle. 3. They would spill your secrets to anyone who happened to walk by. What Men Say About Women Nature has given women so much power that the law cannot afford to give her more. – Samuel Johnson No trust is to be placed in women. – Homer A woman, a spaniel, and a walnut tree, The more they’re beaten, the better they be. - Thomas Fuller Can you recall a women who ever showed you with pride her pibrary? – Benjamin Decasseres Girls began to talk and to stand on their feet sooner than boys because weeds always grow up more quickly than crops. – Martin Luther A very little wit is valued in a woman, as we are pleased with few words spoken plain by a parrot. – Jonathan Swift So…what do women want most? Answer this question again, now being knowledgeable about the view/role of women. Reflect: Why might men have viewed women as they did? Do we still see this today? How does the Knight learn this lesson? Let’s her choose what form to take Reflect 1 How does this tale reflect what we know of the wife of bath? Anticipate 1 What does this tale by Wife of Bath tell us about the Character’s motives? What do women want most? To be master over her husband or lover Wife of Bath Review Clip Wife of Bath Reflection Question In today’s society, where might you find individuals who would agree with the Wife and the philosophy she illustrates with her story? Who might argue against such opinions? Answer this reflection in a 5-7 sentence paragraph.