The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
The thre men were goode, and riche, and olde;
Unnethe myghte they the status holde
In which that they were bounden unto me –
Ye woot wel what I meene of this, pardee!
Here the Wife further corroborates her assertion that she married for money. She was even willing to overlook her husbands' impotence (that's what she means when she says they couldn't hold the statute by which they were bound to her) for their wealth.
As help me God, I laughe whan I thynke
How pitously a-nyght I made hem swynke.
And, by my fey, I tolde of it no stoor,
They had me yeven hir gold and hir tresoor.
Since the Wife already has control of her husbands' wealth, she has no further need to please them. The attitude the Wife expresses here is similar to an antifeminist idea she accuses her husbands of expressing in their drunkenness: that a woman hides her vices until she is married. Here, the Wife reveals her lack of consideration for her husbands' labors only after she has control of their property.
I governed hem so wel after my lawe,
That ech of hem ful blisful was, and fawe
To brynge me gaye thynges fro the fayre.
Here the Wife reveals her love for fancy things. Chaucer hinted at as much in the General Prologue when he talked about the Wife's hat as broad as a buckler and her expensive clothing.