“The Wife of Bath’s Tale”
1. So much of the Wife is revealed in the prologue. She was married for the first time at age 12. Of her five husbands,
three were good, rich, and old. Two husbands were bad. One hit her in the head for tearing his book. This left her deaf
in one ear. She has a healthy appreciation for sex, although she sometimes charged her husbands for the pleasure of her
company! At age 40 and quite well off financially, she is eagerly looking forward to the arrival of husband #6.
2. What effect has the Wife’s prologue had on the Pardoner? _____________________________________________
3. According to the Wife, what does she hope her tale will do? ___________________________________________
4. England was once a land full of fairies. What happened to them? _______________________________________
5. Watch out for friars! They’ll ____________________________________________________________!
6. What did the knight do to the young maiden? ___________________________ (Surely this must be against the code
of ____________________!) How must he be punished? __________________________
7. The queen will spare his life if he ________________________________________________________________.
8. How long does he have to find the answer? __________________________________
9. The knight can find no two people who agree as to what women want. List some of the answers people give him.
10. What is the secret Midas’s wife agrees to keep about him? _____________________________________________
11. Midas’s wife tells his secret to _______________ and feels much better because ____________________________!
12. You can tell by your footnote that the Wife tells the story incorrectly. Why might she do so? __________________
13. What scene vanishes before the knight’s eyes? ______________________________________________________
14. The old hag encourages the knight to tell her what’s bothering him because _______________________________.
15. What does she want from him in exchange for the answer he seeks? ______________________________________
16. What do women want? ___________________________________________________________________________
17. What does the hag want? ________________________________________________________________________
18. Why does he not want her? (3 reasons) ____________________________________________________________
19. How does the hag challenge the knight’s breeding and masculinity? _____________________________________
20. What’s the hag’s point about being of “gentle birth”? ________________________________________________
21. What is her point about the fire burning in a dark house? _____________________________________________
22. Who gives us all our “noble” birth? ________________________________
23. Who is truly “rich”?____________________________________________________________________________
24. What three things does poverty do for a person? _____________________________________________________
25. He should be glad she’s old and ugly because he’ll never have to worry about ______________________________
26. What choice does she offer him? _________________________________________________________________
27. His response? ________________________________________________________________________________
28. The Wife hopes all women get husbands who are (4 things) ____________________________________________
and she hopes that husbands who are (4 things) ________________________________________________________
________________________________________________ get a disease sent to them by ____________________ and
29. Chaucer must have like this tale because of how long he made it. What lesson do you think we are to take away
from it? _______________________________________________________________________________________