Does holy, petty, rational, or generous best describe the Wife of Bath in the following passage:
"In all the parish not a dame stirred,/
Towards the altar steps in front of her,/
And if indeed they did, so wrath was she/
As to be quite out of charity."
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This description of the Wife of Bath shows her actions as being quite petty, particularly if you define petty as meaning lacking in generosity or worried about trivial matters. This attitude is probably a reflection of her sense of her own importance, which she expects to be recognized by the display of respect given her by all the other women in allowing her to approach the altar to receive Holy Communion first.
The passage is reporting that none of the other women in the parish dared to approach the altar ahead of her for fear of the temper tantrum she might display. "So wrath was she" is saying that she would be so filled with vindictive anger if someone dared to get in line in front of her that she would completely loose any sense of kindness or charity.
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