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What punishment does the king initially issue the knight in "The Wife of Bath’s Tale"?

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kaylas93 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM via web

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What punishment does the king initially issue the knight in "The Wife of Bath’s Tale"?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:45 AM (Answer #1)

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At the start of this tale, the knight meets a young woman and rapes her.  When King Arthur hears what the knight has done, he orders that the knight should be executed.  So the answer to your question is that the king initially orders the death penalty for the knight.

However, the queen asks King Arthur not to be so harsh.  She wants the knight to have to go out and learn about women.  She asks that he should be forced to go out and find out what women really want.  This ends up being very difficult for the knight.  Eventually, he finds a really ugly old woman.  She tells him the secret of what women want, but in return he ends up having to marry her.

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