The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale Contents
- The Prologue: introductory comments
- Part one: l.1 'Experience' - l.76 'Cacche whoso may'
- Part two: l.77 'But this word' - l.134 'To purge uryne'
- Part three: l.135 'But if I seye noght' - l.162 ' Al this sentence'
- Part four: l.163 'Up sterte' - l.192 'For myn entente'
- Part five: l.193 'Now sires' - l.234 'Of hir assent'
- Part six: l.235 'Sire old kanyard' - l.307 'I wol hym noght'
- Part seven: l.308 'But tel me this' - l.378 'This know they'
- Part eight: l.379 'Lordinges, right thus' - l.452 'Now wol I speken'
- Part nine: l.453 'My forthe housebonde' - l.502 'He is now in the grave'
- Part ten: l.503 'Now of my fifthe housebond' - l.542 'Had told to me'
- Part eleven: l.543 'And so bifel' - l.584 'As wel of this'
- Part twelve: l.585 'But now, sire' - l.626 'How poore'
- Part thirteen: l.627 'What sholde I seye' - l.665 'I nolde noght'
- Part fourteen: l.666 'Now wol I seye' - l.710 'That women kan'
- Part fifteen: l.711 'But now to purpos' - l.771 'Somme han kem'
- Part sixteen: l.772 'He spak moore' - l.828 'Now wol I seye'
- Part seventeen: The after words l.829 'The frere lough' - l.856 'Yis dame, quod'
- The Wife of Bath's Tale: Introductory comments
- Part eighteen: l.857 'In the' olde days' - l.898 'To chese weither'
- Part nineteen: l.899 'The queen thanketh' - l.949 'But that tale is nat'
- Part twenty: l.952 'Pardee, we wommen' - l.1004 'These olde folk'
- Part twenty-one: l.1005 'My leve mooder' - l.1072 'And taketh his olde wyf'
- Part twenty-two: l.1073 'Now wolden som men' - l.1105 'Ye, certeinly'
- Part twenty-three: l.1106 'Now sire, quod she' - l.1176 'To lyven vertuously'
- Part twenty-four: l.1177 'And ther as ye' - l.1218 'I shal fulfille'he Holocaust and the creation of
- Part twenty-five: l.1219 'Chese now' - l.1264 'God sende hem'
- Reaction to the Wife's Tale
- Themes in The Wife of Bath's Tale
- The struggle for power in The Wife of Bath's Prologue
- The 'wo' that is in marriage
- The portrayal of gender in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
- Desire and The Wife of Bath's Tale
- Is there justice in The Wife of Bath's Tale
- Social criticism in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
- Marriage and sexuality in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
- Mastery in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
- Debate, dispute and resolution in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
- Tale and teller in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
Chaucer spoke and wrote the London dialect of fourteenth-century English. The English of the period from around 1100 to around 1500 is called by modern scholars Middle English, developing between Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) and the Early Modern English of Shakespeare's era (which was followed by today's Modern English).
The way Chaucer's pilgrims address each other tells us a lot about how he sees their social class — and also a lot about how he presents their attitudes towards one another.
Second person personal pronouns
When addressing someone in the singular, people had a choice:
Polite usage - Ye, you, your
- Used to social superiors, elders, people for whom you want to show respect
- Often used by wives to husbands.
Familiar usage - Thou, thee, thy / thine
- Used for social inferiors, children, and by husbands (often) to wives
- Also used by equals, friends and lovers
- Often used to God or pagan deities (but the ‘polite' form is also used for all these).
Plural address - Ye, you, your
- People used the same forms for all people in the plural.
Third person personal pronouns
Chaucer writes in the London dialect of Middle English:
- He uses hir(e) for Modern English their (only northerners used their in the medieval period). Beware of this because it is easy to confuse with the feminine form hir(e)
- He also has hem where Modern English has them (again, northerners used them).
Middle English verb forms
Like modern German, different endings were added to the verbs in Chaucer's time. Thus in the present tense of the verb to sing we get:
- I singe
- Thou singest
- He/she/it singeth
- We singe /singen
- Ye singe / singen
- They singe / singen.
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