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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 401-436 Summary
Yet these accusations actually made my husband happy, because he believed that it was my love that produced such extreme jealousy. I told him that I only went out at night to spy on his mistresses. In this way I had great happiness. All this cleverness is given to women at birth. Deceit, weeping, and spinning are the tools God gave to women. Of one thing I boast: I always got the better of my husbands somehow, whether by deception, force, or continual complaining. Namely, my husbands had bad luck in bed: there I complained and refused to have sex with them. I would not stay in bed if I felt my husband try to embrace me, unless he had somehow paid me. At that point I would allow him to have sex with me. Therefore, I tell every man: win what you can, for everything is for sell. With empty hands, men lure no hawks. For wealth, I would endure my husband's lust and pretend to feel the same. Yet, in old men, I never really had delight. That's why I complained so much. Even if the pope came to dinner, I wouldn't stop criticizing my husband. I swear, I gave as good as I got. I can truly say I don't owe my husband any words that I haven't already said to him. I mad it so that my husbands would rather give in to me, than remain arguing. Though my husband might be roaring mad, in the end he'd lose the fight.
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