Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 401-436

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 401-436

  • Yet these accusations actually made my husband happy, because he believed that it was my love that produced such extreme jealousy.
  • I told him that I only went out at night to spy on his mistresses.
  • In this way I had great happiness.
  • All this cleverness is given to women at birth.
  • Deceit, weeping, and spinning are the tools God gave to women.
  • Of one thing I boast: I always got the better of my husbands somehow, whether by deception, force, or continual complaining.
  • Namely, my husbands had bad luck in bed: there I complained and refused to have sex with them.
  • I would not stay in bed if I felt my husband try to embrace me, unless he had somehow paid me. At that point I would allow him to have sex with me.
  • Therefore, I tell every man: win what you can, for everything is for sell. With empty hands, men lure no hawks.
  • For wealth, I would endure my husband's lust and pretend to feel the same.
  • Yet, in old men, I never really had delight. That's why I complained so much.
  • Even if the pope came to dinner, I wouldn't stop criticizing my husband.
  • I swear, I gave as good as I got. I can truly say I don't owe my husband any words that I haven't already said to him.
  • I mad it so that my husbands would rather give in to me, than remain arguing.
  • Though my husband might be roaring mad, in the end he'd lose the fight.