The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye
In this matere a queynte fantasye;
Wayte what thyng we may nat lightly have,
Therafter wol we crie al day and crave.
Forbede us thyng, and that desiren we;
Preese on us faste, and thanne wol we fle;
With daunger oute we al oure chaffare.
Greet prees at market maketh deere ware,
And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys;
This knoweth every womman that is wys.
The Wife of Bath takes the antifeminist stereotype that women only love men treat them badly and puts a new spin on it. According to her, women adopt this 'fantasye' because they understand free market economics – a thing that is too freely given is cheap, whereas something that's scarce is more valuable. To increase her status, a woman must obtain expensive things, including the love of "daungerous" husbands.