Write a background paragraph that sets up the Wife of Bath as a character. For this paragraph, you will be using the information from “The Prologue” to discuss what kind of woman she is and why Chaucer presents her this way in light of her story. This para

Write a background paragraph that sets up the Wife of Bath as a character. For this paragraph, you will be using the information from “The Prologue” to discuss what kind of woman she is and why Chaucer presents her this way in light of her story. This paragraph should include at least 1-2 quotes from “The Prologue.”

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Often considered Geoffrey Chaucer 's most colorful character, the Wife of Bath is distinctly one who enjoys the luxury of the freedom to travel on pilgrimages. Furthermore, she is an individual with nontraditional ideas because, in the Middle Ages, women were denounced for going on pilgrimages, where there were opportunities for...

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Often considered Geoffrey Chaucer's most colorful character, the Wife of Bath is distinctly one who enjoys the luxury of the freedom to travel on pilgrimages. Furthermore, she is an individual with nontraditional ideas because, in the Middle Ages, women were denounced for going on pilgrimages, where there were opportunities for unfaithfulness. In the General Prologue, Chaucer alludes to the Wife of Bath's "wandering" (l.477), a trait that, in the Middle Ages, denoted boldness and a penchant for love and travel. These interests, as well as the remark that she is skilled in the art of love (ll.485-486), suggest that the Wife of Bath seizes the advantages of her freedom to go on a pilgrimage.

Further, in the Wife of Bath's Prologue, she claims to have much experience, having been married five times. But, she boasts, in each of these marriages she has had the upper hand. She disagrees with Jesus's rebuke of the woman at the well who also had five husbands.

Numbers have never been counted: people have managed 
To marry without arithmetic. (ll. 23-24)

The Wife of Bath is unconventional in her enjoyment of men and her unabashed remarks about the joys of marriage. Human bodies, she contends, are shaped with parts that are meant for use. While she admits to enjoying lovemaking, the Wife of Bath also reveals how she gained "sovereignty" over the men with whom she has been involved. She boasts that this sovereignty can be acquired by "quickness of mind" (l.400).

Lying and weeping are birthright gifts
From God, natural weapons to help us live.
My one particular boast is exactly this,
That in the end I always won, whether
By trick or force, or anything whatever. (ll 401-405)

The Wife of Bath's Tale is often referred to as an exemplum, a story to exemplify, or illustrate, an intellectual idea. In this tale, traditional values are challenged as the Wife of Bath argues for women's desire for "sovereignty." In her argument, the Wife of Bath challenges the medieval view of male/female relationships.

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