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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 1079-1109 Summary

  • Some people might claim it's negligence on my part that I don't tell you about the joy and details of the wedding feast.
  • To that, I answer that there was no joy at that feast, but heaviness and sorrow.
  • The knight marries the hag privately the next day, and afterward hides from everyone because he is so ashamed about how ugly his wife is.
  • The knight is greatly saddened when he gets into bed with his wife. He tosses and turns.
  • His wife lays there smiling. She asks her husband if every husband treats his wife this way.
  • The wife asks if it is customary in King Arthur's household for a husband to be so standoffish towards his wife.
  • She reminds the knight that she is his love and wife, and the one who saved his life.
  • She says that she has never done wrong by the knight. Why, then, is he treating her this way on their wedding night?
  • The hag says her husband is acting like a crazy man. What is her guilt? She demands that her husband tell her what she has done wrong, promising to correct it if she is able.
  • The knight replies that the hag will never be able to fix the problem, which is that his wife is so ugly, old, and low-born that it's no surprise he tosses and turns.
  • He wishes God would break his heart within his breast.

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