The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
But al for noght; I sette noght an hawe
Of his proverbes n'of his olde sawe,
Ne I wolde nat of him corrected be.
I hate him that my vices telleth me,
And so do mo, God woot, of us, than I.
This made him with me wood al outrely:
I nolde nat forbere him in no cas.
The Wife's refusal to be correction may indicate a love of power rather than excessive pride. She does not wish to "forbere" or "obey" her husband, in anything, because this would indicate that he's got the power in their relationship.
Who peyntede the leoun, tell me, who?
Here the Wife is referring to a story in the Fables of Avianus, in which a man and a lion together consider a sculpture in which a lion bows in submission to the man. The lion suggests that if the sculpture had been constructed by a lion, it would show the lion eating the man. The Wife of Bath shows that she understands that who wields the pen, wields the power, an idea that gives a whole larger meaning to her Prologue.
We fille acorded by us selven two.
He yaf me al the brydel in myn hond,
To han the governance of hous and lond,
And of his tonge and of his hond also;
And made him brenne his book anon right tho.
The Wife's claim that she and Jankyn "fille acorded" emphasizes the total mastery the Wife was able to gain, not just over their property, but also Jankyn's words and body. The burning of his book may even symbolize the Wife's mastery over his mind. The extremity of this description makes some people doubt the veracity of the Wife's version of events, so unlikely does it seem that Jankyn would yield to the Wife this completely.