How does the Wife of Bath's tale match her personality?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Wife of Bath makes no secret of her desire for sex. She has been married five times and is looking for another husband. She claims that God has created people to be good at different things, and that she is good at sex. Because sex outside of marriage is a sin, however, she feels the need to get married again and again. She goes through a lengthy description of he husbands in her prologue, claiming, basically, that women should use sex to maintain control of their husbands.  Her story is in keeping with her personality, and her philosophy of relations between men and women. It is a story of a knight who is assisted in his mission to discover what women want by an old hag, who then persuades him to marry her. She tells the knight that she can change form, and offers the knight a choice between keeping her ugly body, but guaranteeing loyalty, or changing into a beautiful women whose loyalty is questionable. When the knight chooses the former option, he winds up having both. The story, with loyalty, romance, and marital relations at its heart, is very much what one might expect from a woman like the Wife of Bath.


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