Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 888-904

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 888-904

  • A lusty young bachelor lives in the household of King Arthur.
  • One day as he is riding from the river, he sees a maiden walking before him.
  • He rapes this maiden despite her cries for mercy, taking her maidenhood.
  • Because of this crime, people raise such a hue and cry of protest before King Arthur he sentences the knight to beheading. This was the law then.
  • The queen and her ladies intervene on the knight's behalf. Arthur grants the queen her request, allowing her to decide the knight's punishment.