Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 291-308

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 291-308

  • You say that oxen, donkeys, horses, and hounds can all be tried out before they're purchased; also basins, bowls, spoons, stools, and other household items. Wives, on the other hand, can't be tried out until they're married, at which point they reveal their flaws.
  • You also say that I'm unhappy unless you constantly praise my beauty and gaze lovingly on my face, call me "fair dame" everywhere, plan a party for my birthday, give me nice clothes, and treat my nurse, maids, and father's family well. That's what you say, you old liar!