Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 4 November 2016

Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath

Canterbury Tales is a story written by Geoffrey Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer was satirical with most of the characters in Canterbury Tales. The story tells about the journey of a group of pilgrims to Canterbury to the shrine of Thomas a Becket and the stories they tell along the way. The pilgrims are in a competition to see who can tell the best story. The host of the Tabard is in charge of the competition and giving a complimentary dinner to the winner with the best story. Each one of the pilgrims stories reveal a little about them, their personalities and their morals. The pilgrims include people like Chaucer himself, a Knight, a Prioress, a Monk, a Franklin, a Parson, the Wife of Bath and others. Most of the satires of these characters would be the same today as it was back then. For example, the Wife of Bath’s satire would remain the same today, but her occupation would be similar to that of the actress, Joan Collins; both have given out advice due to all of their experience and resolved issues with women in relationships.

In the same way that Joan Collins gives advice to women, the Wife of Bath gave advice to women. Joan Collins is a British actress and author who normally plays an adulterous woman in movies and television shows. She writes books giving tips to love and life. Joan’s books include Love & Desire & Hate, The Joan Collins Beauty Book, and Joan’s Way: The Art of Living Well. The Wife of Bath is a slightly satirical character in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

The Wife of Bath tells a story in Chaucer’s story; it tells of a Knight who was told to find the thing that women most desire. The Knight found the answer to be that women want to have sovereignty over their husbands and lovers. At the end of her tale, the Wife of Bath asked Christ to send women husbands who are “meek and young and fresh in bed,” (page 150). She wanted women to be able to have complete control over their husbands. The Wife of Bath places a curse on husbands who refuse to be controlled by their wives.

Also, the two ladies, the Wife of Bath and Joan Collins, both have the same amount of experience in relationships and marriage. Even though she was married five times, Joan wrote in her autobiography that she “recounted entanglements with numerous Hollywood stars, near-stars, and others,” (“Joan Collins”). Like Joan Collins, the Wife of Bath married multiple times and gained wealth from all the marriages. The only difference between the two people, Joan and the Wife of Bath, is that Joan divorced her husbands and the Wife of Bath’s husbands died. So the Wife of Bath was widowed while Joan Collins was divorced.

Among the many husbands that they had, Joan Collins and the Wife of Bath were two highly listened to ladies. Like the Wife of Bath stated, “[she] believes that having experience is the greatest authority, and since she has been married five times, she certainly considers herself an authority on the remedies of love.” (“Wife of Bath”). Even though neither woman had a long and lasting marriage, they gave out advice on relationship and love. Joan viewed love as something you have to work on because marriage is hard work and does not come easily. The Wife of Bath’s view was always for the woman to have the upper hand in a marriage. She believed they should be in control of their husband or lover at all times. She also stated that if a husband cannot confine to the will of his wife he should be cursed to death.

The Wife of Bath’s satire in Canterbury Tales can be easily seen remaining today, due to all the similarities between Joan Collins and the Wife of Bath. The Wife of Bath was never a great role model for anyone to look up to but people listened to her anyways. All five of her marriages led people to believe that she knew what she was talking about. As she was back then, the Wife of Bath would still be the same person. She would still be a wealthy, flashy woman who did not have the best of luck with men.

All in all, whether it is in the future or past, the Wife of Bath’s satire can exist. She was someone who liked to stand out and draw attention to herself. She loves superiority and control over other people, especially her husbands and lovers. Today, the Wife of Bath’s satire would be somewhat identical to the actress and author, Joan Collins. Completely as she was then, the Wife of Bath would exist today.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 4 November 2016

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