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Before the Wife of Bath tells her tale, she offers in a long prologue a condemnation of celibacy and a lusty of her five marriages. It is for this prologue that her tale is perhaps best known. The tale concerns a knight accused of rape, whose life shall be spared if in one year he discovers what women most desire. He eventually turns to an ugly old witch who promises him the answer that will save his life if he will do the first thing she asks of him.
In bed she asks him if he would wish her ugly yet faithful or beautiful and faithless. He insists the choice must be hers. This concession of her mastery restores her youth and beauty, and they live happily ever after. The Wife of Bath's Tale. Fast Facts. Additional Info. Print Cite verified Cite. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter.
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This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen KuiperSenior Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The framing device for the collection of stories is a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury, Kent. The 30 pilgrims who undertake the journey gather at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, across the Thames….
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