Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 1052-1078

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 1052-1078

  • Upon hearing that the knight's life is saved, the hag stands up and asks the queen for mercy and that the court do right by her.
  • She tells the queen how she gave the knight the correct answer, in return for which he swore to grant her first request if it lay in his power.
  • She takes witness of the court that she requests that the knight marry her, reminding him that she has saved his life.
  • The knight answers that he remembers his pledge, but asks the hag to choose some other request.
  • Take all my possessions, he says, but release my body.
  • The hag refuses, saying that although she is old, ugly, and poor, she would not give up the opportunity to be the knight's wife and his love for all the gold on earth.
  • The knight replies that the hag is not his love, but his damnation.
  • He laments that anyone of his station should be so dishonored.
  • The knight's complaining is useless, however. He has given his promise; he must marry the old hag and go to bed with her.