Because she has had five husbands, the Wife feels that she can speak with authority from this experience, and, in the prologue, she tells how she got the upper hand with each of them. Some people think that she might be a stand-in, or alter ego, for the Wife of Bath herself. The old woman makes these points to the knight upon their wedding night. Analysis of the 'Wife of Bath's Tale' Now, let's analyze the 'Wife of Bath's Tale. The Franklin tells of a happy marriage. Nowhere, she confesses, can she find a stricture against more than one marriage, save the rebuke Jesus gave to the woman at the well about her five husbands.
The Wife claims to represent female voices — and her tale consists of a set of women representing each other. She tells him to kiss her, and when he does so, she transforms into a young woman, and they live happily ever after. Her prologue presents a view of marriage that no pilgrim had ever conceived of and is followed by a tale that proves her to be correct. In both her life and her story, the Wife of Bath explains why women should be in control of men in order for both parties to lead happy and fulfilling lives. The knight is called before the court to receive his punishment, but the queen defers and provides him with a task.
She falls into the anti-feminist tradition she represents. Her nostalgia reminds her of how old she has become, but she says that she pays her loss of beauty no mind. She lied to him and told him he had enchanted her, and that she had dreamed that he would kill her as she slept, filling her bed with blood, which signifies gold. It's also a lesson about what women want. The old woman then speaks up that she wants the knight's hand in marriage.
Because she has had the experience of having had five husbands — and is receptive to a sixth — there is no better proof of her views than her own experience, which is better than a scholarly diatribe. Are we just beating our heads against a brick wall trying to convince criminals to follow the rules of society? The Summoner interrupts and says the Friar can do as he likes and will be repaid with a tale about a friar. And her knowledge of scripture although confused at times reveals that she is not simply an empty-minded woman. Medieval antifeminism which is just what we call it now, not what they called it back then was a type of estates satire that characterized women as lustful, greedy parasites on men. Instead, the Monk relates a series of tales in which tragedy befalls everyone. Her voice is extremely distinctive — loud, self-promoting, extremely aggressive — and her lengthy prologue silences the Pardoner and the Friar who is then parodied at the start of the Tale for daring to interrupt her. The chief manner in which she has gained control over her husbands has been in her control over their use of her body.
And after five husbands and hardships — she has lost her beauty and her youth — she has survived. As punishment, the queen sends him on a quest to discover what women most desire. Because he answered the question correctly, the knight was able to avoid beheading. She asks him to kiss her and when he does so, she turns into a young beautiful lady. This, indeed, is down to one of the key problems of interpreting the Tales themselves - voice: how do we ever know who is speaking? She also lets us in on the emotional life behind them. At the month's end, she and Jankyn were married, even though she was twice his age.
This book contained the stories of the most deceitful wives in history. The Host is very pleased with the tale and asks the Parson to relate another one just as good. She is an extremely sensual woman who enjoys sexual relations and pleasing her husband, though she is not as beautiful as she once was. The Wife of Bath is the next to tell a story, and she begins by claiming that happy marriages occur only when a wife has sovereignty over her husband. But in the course of her Prologue, Alisoun begins to give us a peek at more than her vices. The people are repulsed by the knight's behavior and demand justice.
The Wife's ideas were indisputably uncommon for her time period and she shocked her audience with her radical opinions, but perhaps that was her intention. The knight sets forth in sorrow. He was coy and flattering in bed, and always won her back. Suddenly, two men approach the pilgrims. For the Clerk and the Parson, her views are not only scandalous but heretical; they contradict the teachings of the church. Women, the Wife says, always desire what is forbidden them, and run away from whatever pursues or is forced upon them. They appear in the court and the knight told the answer to the queen: the women desire independence and mastery over their husbands.
The Wife of Bath tells her story using examples from her own life and marriages in the prologue to The Canterbury Tales and tells the story of a knight from King Arthur's court to support her views. The Wife of Bath's quote shows that she is familiar with such a famous person. If he can correctly answer, his life will be spared. These are all huge, open, fascinating questions that demonstrate why the tale itself is so complex, and interesting to interpret. Finally, says the Wife, some say that women most want to be considered discreet and secretive, although she argues that such an answer is clearly untrue, since no woman can keep a secret. Once the hag has confirmed that her husband has yielded sovereignty to her, she tells him that she will be both: young and beautiful, and a faithful, good wife to him.