Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 194-229

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 194-229

  • The Wife responds to the Pardoner's request by saying that she will gladly speak of what he asks, but asks the company not to be offended if she speaks as she likes. Her intent is only to play.
  • The Wife says that, of her five husbands, three were good and two were bad.
  • The three good ones were rich and old.
  • They did not have an easy time having sex as often as the Wife wanted it.
  • It makes the Wife laugh to think about how mercilessly she drove them in bed.
  • The Wife didn't care about making those husbands happy, because they'd already given her their gold and treasure.
  • Her husbands loved her so much that she did not value it.
  • A wise woman strives very hard to win love she does not have, but since the Wife's husbands were already in her power, she had no need to please them.
  • She made those husbands work very hard at night.
  • Those husbands were so much in her power that they eagerly purchased fancy gifts for her at the fair. And she would chew them out so often that they were very happy when she spoke sweetly to them.