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The Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath’s Tale By Geoffrey Chaucer.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath’s Tale By Geoffrey Chaucer."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath’s Tale By Geoffrey Chaucer

2 Geoffrey Chaucer Born about 1342 and died around 1400 Often called “The Father of English Poetry” Was the first of a long line to be buried in what is now known as Poets’ Corner in Westminister Abbey

3 Fought in France during the Hundred Years’ War Became an important member of the household of King Edward III Retired from office in 1386 for a period of three years Began to write The Canterbury Tales soon after his retirement

4 Main Characters Included in The Wife of Bath’s Tale Knight Old Woman King Arthur Guinevere

5 The Wife of Bath (as described in the prologue) from Bath (resort city in Southern England) somewhat deaf skilled at weaving traveled to Jerusalem three times made kerchiefs of finely woven fabric which may have weighed up to ten pounds had been married five times been to Rome, Boulogne, Saint James of Compostella and Cologne was a wanderer liked to laugh and chat with company worthy woman

6 Physical Characteristics of the Wife of Bath wore hose of finest scarlet red shoes were soft and new bold face which was handsome and red in hue had a gap in teeth which were set widely apart road on horse wore cloth covering head, neck and chin wore hat large hips

7 Summary Long ago, in King Arthur’s time, there was a Knight riding along a river. There was also a beautiful, young girl alongside the shore. After seeing her, the Knight threw her to the ground and attacked her. King Arthur heard of this incident and condemned the man to death. His wife, Guinevere, disagreed with this punishment and stated that the Knight was too young to die. She then told the Knight he could save his life and go free by leaving for one year to find an answer to this question: What is it that women most desire?

8 The Knight traveled to find the answer. Some said that what women wanted was riches; others, fun and a good time; a few said honor; while the rest said clothes, flattery or a handsome husband. A year passed and the Knight still had not found the answer. While traveling home on the last day of the twelfth month, he noticed company of ladies dancing near the edge of the woods. When he approached the area, they had vanished and there was no one left but a hideous, old woman sitting on the ground.

9 The Knight asked the woman his question in hope of an answer. The hideous woman said that if she answered him, he needed to swear he’d do what she asked. The Knight agreed and the old woman whispered the answer to the man. Together, they made the journey to King Arthur’s court and met with Guinevere. The Knight told the Queen that every woman wants to rule her man. The Knight’s life was saved but the old woman was not satisfied. She told the Knight that he must take her as his wife. The old woman and the Knight disagreed but were finally married.

10 When night came after the wedding the following day, the Knight accompanied the woman to the bridal chamber and threw himself onto the bed facing the wall. The woman told the Knight that this is not the way he should treat his new wife and he should not be ashamed of her old age and ugliness, but should consider her worthy of respect. The old woman then gives him the choice of having her old, ugly and obedient or young, pretty and flirty. The Knight was silent for a few minutes before replying that it was her decision. The Knight then opened the curtains to find that the old woman was now young and beautiful. A long and happy marriage then began that lasted until the end of their lives.

11 Moral or Lesson The Wife of Bath’s Tale centers around feminine issues, posing the question “What do women want most?” and ending with the moral that wives deserve kind and devoted husbands who will relinquish dominance in a marriage to them. The old woman voices the opinion that the Wife of Bath herself gave during her prologue, and can be seen as a representation of the Wife of Bath. Like the Wife of Bath in her struggle with various husbands, the old woman marries a younger man, and the two only find happiness when the young husband renounces control to the older wife.


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