We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Sex Quotes

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

Quote #10

By this proverbe thou shalt understonde,
Have thou y-nogh, what that thee recche or care
How merily that othere folkes fare?
For certeyn, olde dotard, by youre leve,
Ye shul have queynte right y-nough at eve

Here we have a very creative interpretation of a proverb from ancient Greek philosopher Ptolemy, which says a wise man doesn't worry about how successful others are. The Wife interprets this to mean that a husband shouldn't care if his wife is having sex with other people, as long as he's getting enough sex, or as she calls it, "queynte."

Quote #11

He is to greet a nigard that wol werne
A man to lighte a candle at his lanterne;
He shal have never the lasse light, pardee.
Have thou y-nough, thee nar nat pleyne thee

The claim that, like a flame, sexual favors can be shared without diminishing them, accords nicely with the Wife's description of herself as up for it, all the time. It also corroborates the anti-feminist stereotype of women as excessively lustful (the idea being that they'll want to have sex with multiple men, without ever getting tired of it).

Quote #12

For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl,
A likerous mouth moste han a likerous tayl.
In wommen vinolent is no defense,
This knowen lecchours by experience

There are two ways to interpret this quote: a "likerous mouth," or mouth that enjoys drinking alcohol, might have a "likerous tayl," or enjoy sex, because the person to whom both mouth and tail belong is inclined to pleasures of the flesh. The last two lines lend themselves to a more sobering interpretation, though, one in which a likerous mouth has a likerous tail because the drunk person is unable to resist a sexual assault.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...