The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Old Age Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
Yet herde I nevere tellen in myn age
Upon this nombre diffinicioun.
The Wife's allusion to her many years strengthens her claim to authority through experience. The more years, the more experience.
I wol bistow the flour of al myn age
In the actes and in fruit of mariage.
The Wife's intention to live a lusty old age does not fit with the medieval conception of old age, which held that at this point in one's life, the time (and need) for sex had ended, at least for women.
'Telle forth youre tale, spareth for no man,
And teche us yonge men of youre praktike.'
The Pardoner's labeling of himself and his peers as "yonge men" emphasizes the difference in age between them and the Wife. From this perspective, the Wife's portrayal draws upon the medieval figure of the vetula, an elderly female tutor in love and go-between to younger lovers.