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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 Women and Femininity Quotes

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

Quote #19

'Bet is,' quod he, 'thyn habitacioun
Be with a leon, or a foul dragoun,
Than with a womman usynge for to chyde.'
'Bet is,' quod he, 'hye in the roof abyde
Than with an angry wyf doun in the house,
They been so wikked and contrarious.
They haten that hir housbondes loveth ay.'
'He seyde, 'a womman cast hir shame away
Whan she cast of hir smok,' and forther mo,
'A fair womman, but she be chaast also,
Is lyk a goldryng in a sowes nose.'


This cascade of antifeminist proverbs from Jankyn is the straw that breaks the camel's back as far as the Wife's tolerance of his "preaching" is concerned. The way the proverbs are cited one after the other ups the intensity of the antifeminism here. After all, the stories Jankyn has read are also horrible portraits of women, but having the points stated so baldly and succinctly here helps us to understand the ugliness and relentlessness of the antifeminism the Wife must confront.

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