The Wife of Bath_s Tale reading guide

• Follow the instructions in this slideshow as
you read “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.”
• You may work with a partner to complete the
study guide.
• Each student must turn in their own
completed copy of the study guide.
• The entire assignment is worth 51 points.
Page 1
Complete vocab practice.
Up next: Background Information
Women in Medieval Times
It was commonly believed that compared to men, women were…
• Not as Strong
• Not as smart
• Not as morally good
It was all because of Eve.
Continue to learn why…
Adam and Eve
The Medieval church leaders taught that the snake targeted Eve because
she was not as strongly committed to God. Also, she was easy to fool and
obviously more evil since she gave in to Satan’s temptaion. All women
were said to be daughters of Eve who shared her weakness .
The negative view of Eve and of women in general was constantly reinforced. In a
popular drama of the story Adam, after hurling a wailing Eve to the ground, kicking
her, and dragging her by the hair, cries out in anger:
“Oh, evil woman, full of treason,
Forever contrary to reason,
Bringing no man good in any season:
Our children's children to the end of time
Will feel the cruel whiplash of your crime!”
Life of Medieval Women
• Both noble and peasant Medieval women had a difficult life. Most
women of both social classes were restricted to household tasks
such as cooking, sewing, weaving and spinning. In addition to
household tasks, peasant women worked in the fields. However,
women also hunted for food and some fought in battles.
• Chaucer’s character, the Wife of Bath, is not a typical Medieval
woman. Watch for ways that she is different from what her time
period expects her to be.
Study Guide Page 2
Wife of Bath’s Prologue, Page 180
• We heard the Wife of Bath speak about her past five
husbands in the video. Due to her experience and
expertise, her tale will be about marriage and its
• Stanza 1- the Pardoner is speaking to the Wife of Bath
• Stanza 2 – The Wife of Bath speaks to the group
• Stanza 3 – Pardoner/ Wife of Bath speak
Answer 1-3
List of Characters
Fill in information as you learn about various
characters in this tale. Don’t forget to complete
this section when you have finished reading.
During Reading Questions
Page 182
The first stanza is a difficult passage in the poem. Here the Wife
of Bath is describing the setting of her tale. She wants her
audience to think about knights, magic, fairies, elves, and the
good old days when those sorts of things were popular.
Answer questions 1 & 2
Page 182-183
Answer questions 3-5.
Page 183
• Lines 75 – 88 describe the queen
or are statements spoken by the
• In line 75 “him” refers to King
Author. She thanks him for giving
her the trial.
• The queen calls for the knight and
addresses him by saying… “You
stand…in no way certain of your
life.” She continues to speak to
the knight.
Answer questions 6-7
Page 183-185
• Read about the knight’s quest in lines 89-126.
Answer questions 7-11
• Line 127 -158 the Wife of Bath gets sidetracked by another
story she remembers which proves her opinion about women.
She starts telling that story to make her point.
Page 185-188
• Read line 159 “This knight that I am telling you
about…” to line 258.
Answer questions 12-16
Page 188
• Read lines 259-284
And continue…
Unhappily ever after…
• While in bed, the loathsome hag asks the knight
why he is so sad. He replies that he could hardly
bear the shame of having such an ugly, lowborn
• His problems with her:
“You are too common, ugly, and too poor for me!”
Answer question 17
Page 188- 190 (line 352)
The 1st Crone’s argument:
• Too common
– Asks him what makes someone “gentle” or noble?
– Is it really passed through family? Can noble
character be bequeathed?
– There have been sons of noble fathers, she
argues, who were shameful and villainous, though
they shared the same blood.
– Gentle and noble deeds make
a noble man or woman-- judge by that.
Answer question 18
Page 190 - 191 (line 353- 382)
The Crone’s 2nd argument:
• Too poor
– Yes but the church teaches the value of a life of
– You don’t have to fear a thief
– Reveals your true friends
– You can’t buy happiness: real riches lie in having
little and wanting nothing.
Answer question 19
Page 191 (beginning at line 383)
The Crone’s 3rd argument:
• Too old and ugly
– Yes, but … ugly is safe
– No one will want me so I will never cheat on you
– You don’t have to worry about your friends or
neighbors hitting on me
The options:
• Would you rather have a wife who is ugly but loyal and
good, or a wife who is young and hot but also
flirtatious and unfaithful. (line 395)
Answer question 21
Page 192
Read line 404 to the end of the tale.
Answer questions 22- 24.
Answer a. by reviewing background
information on women and other
handouts on this character.
Why does it make sense
that the Wife of Bath
would tell this story?
Answer b. Transformation…
“For by my truth, to you I will be both;
That is to say, I'll be both good and fair.”
Make sure your answer includes the answer which
saves the knight’s life.
Check your work and turn it in!

similar documents