Please give a detailed character sketch of all of the characters introduced in the "Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of my favourite characters that is introduced in the "General Prologue" is the Wife of Bath, referred to as a "business woman, from near Bath." She is clearly a talented woman, as the narrator describes her as more skilled in clothmaking than even the "weavers of Ypres and Ghent." However, her somewhat proud character is shown by the detail that she must be first at the almsgiving, or otherwise she would become incredibly angry and not give anything. What is most notable about her appearance is her penchant for the colour red:

Her stockings were of finest scarlet red,

Very tightly laced; shoes pliable and new.

Bold was her face, and handsome; florid, too.

The colour of her stockings combined with her "bold" face and being "gap-toothed," which was believed at that time to indicate a lascivious nature, points towards a very strong, dominant character who is potentially looking for another husband, as she has been married five times. She is presented as something of an expert in love and a wise woman because of her travelling and experience of marriage, as she knows all the "cures for love," being a "past mistress" of that game. The narrator hints that she is therefore an incredibly sexually active woman, and has had other lovers outside of her five marriages. Her description in the "General Prologue," therefore, prepares the reader for her story, and her prologue to it, which uncovers more of her character. 

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