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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 1110-1130 Summary

  • This is the hag's response to her husband's complaint:
  • Is this why you are so unhappy?
  • Yes, replies the knight, and no wonder!
  • I could fix this before three days have passed, if you would treat me better.
  • You speak about gentility as if it is a result of noble parentage, believing that anyone who comes from a rich family is therefore a gentleman.
  • This arrogance is worthless.
  • Pay attention to who is the most virtuous whether in public or private, and always tries to do the most gentle deeds he can; he is the greatest gentleman.
  • Our gentility comes from Christ, and not from our ancestors or their old money.
  • Though our ancestors give us our heritage, through which we claim to be highborn, it's impossible for them to give us a virtuous lifestyle as an inheritance.
  • All this noble lineage bequeaths a man is the desire to be called a gentleman and have his orders followed.

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