Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 241-262

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 241-262

  • The Wife gives her listeners a lesson on how to boss around a husband. Here's how she would speak to a husband in order to get the upper hand in the relationship:
    • Why is my neighbor's wife so happy, while I sit at home without any decent clothes?
    • Why do you spend so much time at my neighbor's house? Are you in love with her?
    • Why are you whispering to our maid? Stop seducing people!
    • If I have a friend I like to talk to, you wrongfully criticize me for visiting him.
    • You come home drunk and criticize me without having any proof that I'm doing anything wrong.
    • You tell me it's a misfortune to marry a poor woman, because she costs more than she's worth. Yet you also tell me it is torment to suffer the pride and bad mood of a rich wife.
    • If a woman is pretty, you say, she can't remain chaste because every man wants to have sex with her.