How does the wife of Bath define a "good" husband?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the best way to answer this is to say that the Wife of Bath seems to want the following things in a husband:

  • First, she wants a husband who is obedient to her, or at least one that she can dominate.  That is the whole point of her story -- that women want to rule over their men.
  • Second, she wants a husband who is young and "fresh in bed."  In other words, she feels taht sexual relations are an important part of marriage and she wants someone who will be interested in that.
  • Finally, I think you can say she wants a husband who will die relatively young.  That way she can inherit their money when they die.

Here is a quote that embodies these ideas.  It's from the very end of the tale.

and Jesus to us send
Meek husbands, and young ones, fresh in bed,
And good luck to outlive them that we wed.