In The Canterbury Tales, does the Wife of Bath wear a sexy attire?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It has always been said that the most interesting tale within The Canterbury Tales is the connecting tale that starts with "The Prologue" and continues with the various altercations that go on between the various characters on the pilgrimage that we are introduced to. They would certainly be some travelling companions! We are introduced to the Wife of Bath in "The Prologue" and it becomes evident that she definitely does not dress the way that other women do. Her character of course manifests itself in her Tale, but we are given a little indication of what her tale is going to be like when we are introduced to her and her, yes, particularly risqué attire. Consider how she is presented:

Her stockings were of finest scarlet red,

Very tightly laced; shoes pliable and new.

Bold was her face, and handsome; florid, too.

The fact that she was "so skilled a clothmaker" and wore "handkerchiefs of the finest weave" automatically distinguishes her. However, her red stockings clearly mark her out as wanting to attract the attention of other men. Her five husbands that she has worked her way through are testament that she is not reluctant to put herself forward, and we discover that one of her motivations for going on this pilgrimage is to find another husband.

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