Sample Essay

The Wife of Bath has control of her husbands’ property, presumably acquired through successive marriage settlements.  She therefore has no need to make efforts to please her mates, if such efforts would give her greater authority over her men in terms of wealth or pleasure.  According to her Prologue, her first three husbands had “bad luck in bed,” for which they were chided by her.

As mentioned before, she would demand payment in bed, in return for which she would make payment (sexually) of the marriage debt she owed them (Nelson).  Knowing that all women cannot be as wise as her when it comes to controlling her husbands’ property or getting money out of men, for instance, she is asking young girls to back out of marriage altogether.  Why please a man when it is more fruitful over all to please and serve God? – is her final argument on the question of marriage.

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