, Research Paper
Love and The Wife of Bath
People do so much in their futile attempts to gain love. The Wife of Bath from The Canterbury Tales does many things to get love also. She marries four husbands to get love by controlling the. She marries her fifth husband, Johnny, to get love by being controlled. Also, the Wife of Bath believes that true love will come to her only when she gains the equality she feels she deserves.
The Wife of Bath marries a total of five husbands. She marries her first four husbands and controls them because she thinks they will love her for it. She was married for the first time at the age of twelve. Therefore, she doesn t put much of an emphasis on the sanctity of marriage. In fact, she argues with the Apostle Paul, saying, Or where comanded he virginitee?…But conseiling nis no comandement. He putte it in oure owene juggement, (p. 108). The Wife of Bath decides to make the most of her marriages. She realizes she is smarter than they are, and becomes controlling. The text says, How pitously anight I made hem swinke… (p. 111). She manages their lands for them, and makes them work hard. When they became jealous because it appeared she was cheating on them, the Wife of Bath said, Of wenches wolde I beren hem on honde, Whan that for sik they mighte unnethe stonde…I swoor that al my walking out by nighte Was for to espye wenches that he dighte, (p. 115). The Wife of Bath believed that by making them work for everything and being completely submissive to them, they would truly love her.
On the other hand, the Wife of Bath marries Johnny to find love by being controlled. She notices Johnny while she is still married to her fourth husband, but declares, If I were widwe, sholde wedde me, (p. 119). In fact, when her husband dies, it is of little sorrow to her. In fact, at the funeral, she took more notice of Johnny: And Janekin oure clerk was oon of tho. As help me God, whan that I saw him go After the beere, (p. 119). However, soon after she marries Johnny, the Wife of Bath learns that he will not be controlled by her. On the contrary, Johnny is controlling to the point of abusiveness. Every night he, reden in this book of wikked wives, (p. 121). The book s examples of wicked wives help him prove that they are inferior and shouldn t be trusted or accounted as equals. This causes the Wife of Bath to become enraged, and tears out pages from the book and throws them at Johnny, who proceeds to hit her on the head with the book so hard that she falls motionless to the floor. When she wakes up, she says, O hastou slain me,…for my land?…Er I be deed yit wol I kisse thee, (p. 124). Even though he caused her to go deaf in one ear from the blow, she is loyal to him and in fact loves him even more.
In the end, the Wife of Bath realizes that true love will come to her only when she gains the equality she feels she deserves. As page 113 says, Thou sholdest saye, Wif, go wher thee leste. The Wife of Bath believes she is smart enough to control her own life. She shouldn t be governed by what society and her husband tell her. The Wife of Bath uses her tale to get this point across