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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 101-120 Summary

  • The Wife's not jealous that maidenhood is preferred to marriage. Let those be maidens (virgins) who wish to be "clean" in body and soul.
  • She does not boast about being a wife.
  • Among his household possessions, a lord has some vessels made of gold, and some made of wood. The ones made of wood are also serviceable. (The implication here is that the wives are serviceable, if not as preferable as the virgins.)
  • God calls people of all different persuasions to himself, and all of them have their own, different gifts from God.
  • Virginity and continence are indeed great perfections.
  • But Christ, who is the source of perfection, did not command that everyone sell all they have and give it to the poor. He asked it only of those people who wanted to be perfect.
  • Lords, says the Wife, addressing the pilgrims, I have no wish to be perfect.
  • The Wife plans to spend her old age being married and having sex.

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