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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Jankyn Timeline and Summary
Near the end of her Prologue, the Wife announces that she will tell of her fifth husband, who was the one she loved best of all despite the fact that he beat her. One of the reasons she loved him so much was that he was really good in bed. Jankyn goes out walking in a field one day with the Wife and her best friend. There, the Wife proposes that Jankyn marry her upon the death of her fourth husband, and he agrees. After the Wife's fourth husband dies, Jankyn marries the Wife. The marriage quickly turns sour; Jankyn beats the Wife and refuses to yield to her will. He also reads to her from his Book of Wicked Wives. One night, when he is reading to the Wife from this Book, she becomes incensed, plucks three pages out of it, and pushes Jankyn into the fire. Jankyn strikes the Wife so hard that she falls to the floor in a faint. Jankyn expresses concern for the Wife's injuries, but tells her the fight was all her fault. The Wife claims that, after this fight, Jankyn yields total "maistrye" to her, even burning his Book of Wicked Wives at her request.