And thries hadde she been at Jérusalem;
She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
Literally translated, the couplet means, “And three times had she been to Jerusalem; she had passed many a foreign place.” Jerusalem is an important Christian site, but the Wife’s devout, faithful image is undermined by other phrases in the text, such as her having five husbands and a sixth lover. Her duality is represented by the assonance of this passage: the closed “e” (pronounced “eh”) and the closed “a” (pronounced “ah”) alternate throughout the two lines, the only main difference between the two sounds being the position of the jaw. In her Prologue, she reveals that in none of her marriages was there any notion of love or faith to the other; it was always money- or pleasure-based. Besides affirming this side of her, she also discusses marriage in the Bible, particularly the Samaritan women who’d had five husbands and St. Paul’s thoughts on marriage. Her admittance of her married life and her consideration of the Bible bring these two views of her (as credible and scandalous) together, eliminating the supposed duality in the General Prologue.
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