In “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” the author uses metaphors to make sweeping assumptions about a comparatively small narrative. Therefore, the numerous representations based on her story form allegory demonstrating the assertions she prepared in the introduction – and a kind of apology (Gilbert and Gubar). The main character suggests a need for clarification and defensive performance of her viewpoints beyond the narratives of her marriage in the opening chapter. This is through the use of rhetoric both in the prologue and the tale that follows. Furthermore, there are multiple equivalents between the old and the new wife, especially considering her romance and civil partnership with Jenkins. There are many significant parallels between the Wife of Bath and the Wife in the story; this assessment will concentrate on the concepts of wonder and magic and coordinate concepts and themes of “mastery.”
Before delving into the apology, one ought to first comprehend the motivation behind the apology. In the opening chapter, the Wife of Bath unrepentantly expresses her divisive views on sex and civil partnership. She is mindful of the differing viewpoints; for example, where she proposes to amend the prologue to say and say, “So that clerks be not with me wrote” (Gilbert & Gubar, 23). Therefore, her attempt to recognize these different viewpoints demonstrates that she is aware of the need to display her prosecutions. The sensationalistic remarks in her prologue claim to be solely based on expertise: “Experience, though we’re in this universe, was correct enough to me” (Gilbert & Gubar, 29). However, she does not abstain from mentioning the officials she claims are excessive when it is to her benefit. In the opening chapter, for instance, the Wife quotes Ptolemy’s Almagest. Similarly, she does everything she can in her tale to use Ovid’s story of Midas and his Wife to justify the actions around a female’s inability to possess and preserve a hidden message.
The Wife’s prevalent allegories and citations should not be the only indicators that her story’s goal is remorseful. “Whoso that nil is war by other men, by him shall other men be rectified,” she says, referring to Ptolemy (Gilbert & Gubar, 26). She certainly draws the audience’s responsiveness to a notion of gaining awareness based on the experiences of other individuals. Henceforth, the expertise the wife presumes cannot simply be adventures. She reveals the existence of five marriages in the past as she begins this excursion in the opening chapter by stating and indicating that, “my story is not a big one: / nay, thou shalt drink of another tone/Err that I shalt drink of (Gilbert & Gubar, 25).” The Wife does not claim that her opening section may influence the audiences’ opinions; she states that the “tale” would achieve something in advance as she departs. As a result, the wife implies the whole discourse and not just her opening chapter interpretations on five marriages. As a result, a person could argue that based on the outcome, the Ptolemaic ideology demonstrates the wife’s willingness to display her flaws when she asserts that and confirms the opening chapter, “For my entente is but for to play.” (Gilbert & Gubar, 31). Nevertheless, given the contradictory confirmation, the statement appears to be more of a secrecy attempt. In particular instances, each is insulted by her endeavor to manipulate man in radicalized ways and techniques. Additionally, she narrates the phrase to establish her expertise in courtship and marriage.
The allegories that link up the prologue and story serve as the symbolic component of the Wife’s apology. The use of mystery and miracles, or, more merely put, trickery, is a primary comparison between Wife of Bath’s opening chapter and the story. The Wife discusses her relationship with Jenkins in the opening chapter, which introduces the mystery element. One of her first confrontations with Jenkins, and according to Wife in the field: “That Jenkins clerk and my gossip dame Allis/and I into the fields went” (Gilbert & Gubar, 30). This component of “play” in nature appears again in the Wife’s story. First, the Wife establishes the magical world that exists in mysteriousness, or at least what existed before “the greet charities and praying to limit ours and other holy frères (Gilbert & Gubar, 28). Nature appears when the Knight first gets to meet the lady who, remaining unknown to him, will become his wife. “And in his way, it occurred him to ride, /in all this care, just below a forest side…” No creature sought he that bar life, /except on the green he sought sitting a wife” (Gilbert & Gubar, 20). Nature’s mystical, strange ways help pave the way in the Wife’s story of the Knight and his new Wife while also serving a purpose in Jenkin’s story with his wife.
In conclusion, since the female is in charge of the story, this is the Wife’s notion of a great outcome. The Wife’s beliefs and qualities in the story may align very well with the Wife’s views within the preamble. However, the literary indications seemed to suggest differently. Considering the rhetorical and linguistic devices used both in the prologue and the subsequent tale, it is clear that perhaps the tale is a symbolic explanation for Wife’s propagandistic prequel using comparable diction and imagery. Thus, being in intrigue, and mysticism, are only a few of the characteristics that bind the story to the introduction so tightly (Gilbert & Gubar, 25). As a result, the intention of the narrative of the older woman and the Knights was to amuse and delight.
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Gubar, Susan. The Norton anthology of literature by women: The tradition in English. Norton, 1985.