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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 Love Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.

Quote #7

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
.
(521-530)

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.

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