Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 1242-1270

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 1242-1270

  • The hag asks her husband if he is yielding 'maistrie' to her, since he's allowing her to choose and govern as she desires.
  • The knight replies that yes, he believes that's best.
  • The hag tells her husband to kiss her and be unhappy no longer.
  • She promises to be 'both' to the husband, which is to say both fair, and a good true wife.
  • She declares that she'll die crazy unless she is as good and true to her husband as any wife since the world began.
  • And tomorrow, moreover, she says she will be as beautiful to look upon as any lady, empress, or queen anywhere in the world.
  • She tells her husband to do with her life as he pleases, and to remove the curtain on their bed to look at her.
  • When the knight sees that she is beautiful and young, he takes his wife in his arms and kisses her a thousand times.
  • The knight's wife obeys him in everything.
  • Thus the knight and his wife are happy until the end of their lives.
  • May Jesus send us meek, young, sexually-skilled husbands, and the grace to dominate whoever we marry.
  • Also, I pray that Jesus shorten the lives of those men who refuse to be governed by their wives, and those old misers who aren't generous with their money – may God send a plague upon them!