Of remedies of love she knew per chauncé,
For she koude of that art the olde daunce

from Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue) on Rap Genius


The Wife of Bath is a complicated character of slight contradictions, and this shows through the reading of the couplet. The repetition of the sounds of the long o “oh” and long a “ah” emulates the sounds of awe. As the lines say, she is a “worthy woman” and one of the way the text illustrates this is through her devotion to religion. From her travels to Jerusalem, Rome, and other exotic pilgrimage sites to being the first at Mass, the Wife of Bath seems to be a woman devoted to God. Yet instead of the demure woman that one would expect out of a pious lady, she is “bold of face” and competitive: this streak rears its head when she gets upset on not being first to offering at Mass. She has also already wedded five husbands, not even counting the dallies she had in her youth. She seems to ignore the sanctity of marriage that many Christians advocate (1 Corinthians 7:10-11: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.” (NIV Bible)[http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7%3A10-12&version=NIV] and does what she wants. The literal translation of this line is “As it happened, she knew of many solutions to love, for she knew the steps to that dance well.” She has so many experience in marriage and courting that she happily gives advice of love to whose who ask.

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