The knight who raped a young woman gets many answers when he wanders around the countryside asking people what women most want.
Some respond that women want material wealth. Others say honor is most important, but some counter that having a good time matters more. Some people insist that beauty is a woman's greatest desire. Others claim it is good sex. Not surprisingly, given who is telling the story, the knight is told that being able to remarry is a woman's greatest wish.
A few answers come closer to the truth. When the knight hears that what women most want is flattery, the Wife of Bath comments that answer is not unreasonable, because it is through flattery that most women are wooed to marry. Other people say that women most want freedom and autonomy to live life on their own terms—also an answer not too far afield.
The Wife of Bath, showing her learning, refutes the answer that women want to be able to keep secrets with a story from Ovid that shows that women can't keep any confidences to themselves.
It is not until his year and a day of travels are ended that the knight in desperation makes a deal with a wise old woman. She provides the right answer: women want to be in charge and rule their husbands in a marriage.