Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 230-240

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 230-240

  • The Wife asks the company, but particularly wise wives that can best understand her, to listen to her example of how one ought to speak to one's husband in order to get the upper hand in the relationship.
  • The Wife claims that no man can lie as boldly as a woman can.
  • If she knows what's good for her, says the Wife, a wise wife will convince her husband that the "cow is wood" – that the rumors of her unfaithfulness to him are untrue.
  • The part that follows is the Wife's imaginative re-enactment of how she spoke to former husbands in order to gain the upper hand.