Wife of Bath's Prologue

  • Plot: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue recounts her experiences and views about marriage, as she defends her marital affairs and criticises the stereotype that a woman can’t be considered virtuous if she is sexually active.
  • Structure & Language Techniques: The narrative, told mostly in the first person, is structured in rhymed couplets using a casual, colloquial language and satirical descriptions, reflecting the character of the Wife of Bath.
  • Themes & Linking Poems: The Prologue explores themes such as female authority in marriage, sexuality, and the struggle between experience and authority; these themes can be linked to Chaucer’s other tales such as The Merchant’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale.
  • Key Quotes: Noteworthy quotes include “I don’t deny that I will have my husband both my debtor and my slave,” which signifies Wife’s perspective on marital relationships.
  • Poet & Context: The Prologue presents Chaucer’s bold narration through a female character’s perspective in the 14th-century patriarchal society, generating a discussion about women’s rights in marriage and their sexual independence.