chaucer4
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chaucer4

Course Number: ENGLISH 110, Fall 2009

College/University: Illinois State

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Chaucer Text and Contexts Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not...

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and Chaucer Text Contexts Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Her name--"Alison"--suggests a connection with the "Alisoun" of the Miller's Tale, and she also mentions a "gossip" named "Alisoun" Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Her name--"Alison"--suggests a connection with the "Alisoun" of the Miller's Tale, and she also mentions a "gossip" named "Alisoun" Her tale presents a contrasting view of romance to that of the Knight's Tale Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Her name--"Alison"--suggests a connection with the "Alisoun" of the Miller's Tale, and she also mentions a "gossip" named "Alisoun" Her tale presents a contrasting view of romance from that of the Knight's Tale Her "prologue" is a debate with clerical "auctoritee" ("authority") Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Her name--"Alison"--suggests a connection with the "Alisoun" of the Miller's Tale, and she also mentions a "gossip" named "Alisoun" Her tale presents a contrasting view of romance from that of the Knight's Tale Her "prologue" is a debate with clerical "auctoritee" ("authority") Wife of Bath responds to Christian misogyny tradition of St. Jerome Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue First married at 12 to a wealthy old man Has been married five times, and has grown rich herself Enjoys sex, but does not like to be controlled by men Her name--"Alison"--suggests a connection with the "Alisoun" of the Miller's Tale, and she also mentions a "gossip" named "Alisoun" Her tale presents a contrasting view of romance from that of the Knight's Tale Her "prologue" is a debate with clerical "auctoritee" ("authority") Wife of Bath responds to Christian misogyny tradition of St. Jerome St. Jerome (ca 320-420) wrote "On Marriage and Virginity," associating women with evil and prescribing celibacy for priesthood Wife of Bath's Prologue: Experience of Woe in Marriage The Wife of Bath says that she has lots of experience about the "wo" that is in marriage, so she is entitled to talk about it 5 "Experience, though noon auctoritee Were in this world, were right ynogh to me To speke of wo that is in mariage; For, lordynges, sith I twelf yeer was of age, Thonked be God, that is eterne on lyve, Housbondes at chirche dore I have had fyve Wife of Bath's Prologue: Jesus at the Wedding Feast at Cana People tell her that a woman should only be married once, because Jesus only went once to a wedding (the wedding at Cana, in the Gospel of St. John, 2:1) 10 But me was toold, certeyn, nat longe agoon is, That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but onis To weddyng in the Cane of Galilee, That by the same ensample, taughte he me, That I ne sholde wedded be but ones. Wife of Bath's Prologue: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well Jesus spoke to a woman who had been married five times at the well in Samaria; Wife of Bath misunderstands his implicit criticism of cohabitation 15 20 Herkne eek, lo, which a sharpe word for the nones, Biside a welle Jhesus, God and Man, Spak in repreeve of the Samaritan. "Thou hast yhad fyve housbondes," quod he, "And thilke man the which that hath now thee Is noght thyn housbonde;" thus seyde he certeyn. What that he mente ther by, I kan nat seyn; But that I axe, why that the fifthe man Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan? Gospel of St. John: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well 5: Then cometh he [Jesus] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6: Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7: There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8: (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9: Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11: The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12: Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Gospel of St. John: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well 13: Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15: The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16: Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17: The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19: The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20: Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21: Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Gospel of St. John 22: Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25: The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26: Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27: And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28: The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29: Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30: Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. Wife of Bath's Prologue: A man should leave his parents Wife of Bath invokes St. Paul's statement that a man should leave his mother and father and join with his wife: 30 God bad us for to wexe and multiplye; That gentil text kan I wel understonde. Eek wel I woot, he seyde, myn housbonde Sholde lete fader and mooder, and take to me; But of no nombre mencioun made he, Of bigamye or of octogamye, Why sholde men thanne speke of it vilainye Wife of Bath's Prologue "Wax and Multiply" Wife of Bath knows of no Biblical text that specifically determines the number of times a woman can marry, but she does know that the Bible tells us to "wax and multiply" Genesis 1: 27-28: 27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Letter of St. Paul: Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Wife of Bath's Prologue: King Solomon's Wives Wife of Bath knows of no Biblical text against bigamy or "octagamy" King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines; Alison wishes she could be "refreshed" only half as often as him 35 Lo, heere the wise kyng, daun Salomon; I trowe he hadde wyves mo than oonAs, wolde God, it leveful were to me To be refresshed half so ofte as he! Which yifte of God hadde he, for alle hise wyvys! No man hath swich that in this world alyve is. Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue God woot, this noble kyng, as to my wit, The firste nyght had many a myrie fit With ech of hem, so wel was hym on lyve! Yblessed be God, that I have wedded fyve; (Of whiche I have pyked out the beste, Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste. 45 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue Diverse scoles maken parfyt clerkes, And diverse practyk in many sondry werkes Maketh the werkman parfyt sekirly; Of fyve husbondes scoleiyng am I.) Welcome the sixte, whan that evere he shal. For sothe I wol nat kepe me chaast in al. Whan myn housbonde is fro the world ygon, Som Cristen man shal wedde me anon. For thanne th'apostle seith that I am free, To wedde, a Goddes half, where it liketh me. He seith, that to be wedded is no synne, Bet is to be wedded than to brynne. 50 55 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue 60 What rekketh me, thogh folk seye vileynye Of shrewed Lameth and of bigamye? I woot wel Abraham was an hooly man, And Jacob eek, as ferforth as I kan, And ech of hem hadde wyves mo than two, And many another holy man also. Whanne saugh ye evere in any manere age, That hye God defended mariage By expres word? I pray you, telleth me, Or where comanded he virginitee? I woot as wel as ye it is no drede, Th'apostel, whan he speketh of maydenhede; 65 70 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue He seyde that precept therof hadde he noon. Men may conseille a womman to been oon, But conseillyng is no comandement; He putte it in oure owene juggement. For hadde God comanded maydenhede, Thanne hadde he dampned weddyng with the dede; And certein, if ther were no seed ysowe, Virginitee, wherof thanne sholde it growe? Poul dorste nat comanden, atte leeste, A thyng of which his maister yaf noon heeste. 75 80 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue The dart is set up of virginitee; who Cacche so may, who renneth best lat see. But this word is nat taken of every wight, But ther as God lust gyve it of his myght. I woot wel, th'apostel was a mayde; But nathelees, thogh that he wroot and sayde He wolde that every wight were swich as he, Al nys but conseil to virginitee; And for to been a wyf, he yaf me leve Of indulgence, so it is no repreve To wedde me, if that my make dye, Withouten excepcioun of bigamye. Al were it good no womman for to touche, He mente, as in his bed or in his couche; For peril is bothe fyr and tow t'assemble; Ye knowe what this ensample may resemble. 85 90 95 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue This is al and som, he heeld virginitee Moore parfit than weddyng in freletee. Freletee clepe I, but if that he and she Wolde leden al hir lyf in chastitee. I graunte it wel, I have noon envie, Thogh maydenhede preferre bigamye; Hem liketh to be clene, body and goost. Of myn estaat I nyl nat make no boost, For wel ye knowe, a lord in his houshold, He nath nat every vessel al of gold; Somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servyse. God clepeth folk to hym in sondry wyse, And everich hath of God a propre yifte Som this, som that, as hym liketh shifte. 100 105 110 Canterbury Tales The Wife of Bath's Prologue Virginitee is greet perfeccioun, And continence eek with devocioun. But Crist, that of perfeccioun is welle, Bad nat every wight he sholde go selle Al that he hadde, and gyve it to the poore, And in swich wise folwe hym and his foore. He spak to hem that wolde lyve parfitly, And lordynges, by youre leve, that am nat I. I wol bistowe the flour of myn age In the actes and in fruyt of mariage. 115 120 Wife of Bath's Prologue: Sex Organs Were Made for Having Sex Telle me also, to what conclusion Were membres maad of generacion, And of so parfit wys a wight ywroght? Trusteth right wel, they were nat maad for noght. Glose whoso wole, and seye bothe up and doun, That they were maked for purgacioun Of uryne, and oure bothe thynges smale Were eek to knowe a femele from a male, And for noon oother cause, -- say ye no? The experience woot wel it is noght so. So that the clerkes be nat with me wrothe, I sey this, that they maked ben for bothe, This is to seye, for office, and for ese Of engendrure, ther we nat God displese. 125 125 Wife of Bath's Prologue: Sex Organs Were Made for Having Sex 130 Why sholde men elles in hir bookes sette That man shal yelde to his wyf hire dette? Now wherwith sholde he make his paiement, If he ne used his sely instrument? Thanne were they maad upon a creature To purge uryne, and eek for engendrure. But I seye noght that every wight is holde, That hath swich harneys as I to yow tolde, To goon and usen hem in engendrure. Thanne sholde men take of chastitee no cure. Crist was a mayde, and shapen as a man, And many a seint, sith that the world bigan; Yet lyved they evere in parfit chastitee. I nyl envye no virginitee. 135 140 Wife of Bath's Prologue: Sex Organs Were Made for Having Sex 140 And many a seint, sith that the world bigan; Yet lyved they evere in parfit chastitee. I nyl envye no virginitee. Lat hem be breed of pured whete-seed, And lat us wyves hoten barly-breed; And yet with barly-breed, mark telle kan, Oure lord jhesu refresshed many a man. 145 Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue Argument Wife of Bath twists St. Paul's argument that it is "better to marry than to burn" Whan myn housbonde is fro the world ygon, Som Cristen man shal wedde me anon. For thanne th'apostle seith that I am free, To wedde, a Goddes half, where it liketh me. He seith, that to be wedded is no synne, Bet is to be wedded than to brynne. ... Th'Apostle, whan he speketh of maidenhede, He saide that precept therof hadde he noon: Men may conseile a womman to be oon, But conseiling nis no comandement. He putte it in oure owene juggement. 55 75 Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue Argument Wife of Bath argues against St. Jerome, author of misogynistic text: St Jerome was 4th-century bishop who argued for celibacy of the priesthood on the basis of the wickedness of women. Here are some quotes from his "Letter to Eustochian": "I will say it boldly, though God can do all things He cannot raise up a virgin when once she has fallen." "Sampson was braver than a lion and tougher than a rock; alone and unprotected he pursued a thousand armed men; and yet, in Delilah's embrace, his resolution melted away. " "David was a man after God's own heart, and his lips had often sung of the Holy One, the future Christ; and yet as he walked upon his housetop he was fascinated by Bathsheba's nudity, and added murder to adultery." Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath's Prologue Argument From St. Jerome's "Letter to Eustochian" continued: "I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. I gather the rose from the thorns, the gold from the earth, the pearl from the shell. "Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?" Shall he not also enjoy the fruit of his labor? Wedlock is the more honored, the more what is born of it is loved. Why, mother, do you grudge your daughter her virginity? She has been reared on your milk, she has come from your womb, she has grown up in your bosom. Your watchful affection has kept her a virgin. Are you angry with her because she chooses to be a king's wife and not a soldier's? She has conferred on you a high privilege; you are now the mother-in-law of God. " Wife of Bath's Prologue Alison's Fifth Husband--She marries for love (or lust, maybe) Whan that my fourthe housbonde was on beere, I weep algate, and made sory cheere, As wyves mooten, for it is usageAnd with my coverchief covered my visage; But for that I was purveyed of a make, I wepte but smal, and that I undertake. To chirche was myn housbonde born amorwe With neighebores that for hym maden sorwe; And Janekyn oure clerk was oon of tho. As help me God! whan that I saugh hym go After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire Of legges and of feet so clene and faire, That al myn herte I yaf unto his hoold. 595 600 605 Wife of Bath's Prologue He was, I trowe, a twenty wynter oold, And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth, But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth. Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel, I hadde the prente of Seinte Venus seel. As help me God, I was a lusty oon, And faire, and riche, and yong, and wel bigon, And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me, I hadde the beste quonyam myghte be. 610 Wife of Bath's Prologue For certes, I am al Venerien In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcien. Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse, And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardynesse. Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars therinne, Allas, allas, that evere love was synne! I folwed ay myn inclinacioun By vertu of my constellacioun; That made me I koude noght withdrawe My chambre of Venus from a good felawe. Yet have I Martes mark upon my face, And also in another privee place. 620 625 Wife of Bath's Prologue For God so wys be my savacioun, I ne loved nevere by no discrecioun, But evere folwede myn appetit, Al were he short, or long, or blak, or whit. I took no kep, so that he liked me, How poore he was, ne eek of what degree. What sholde I seye, but at the monthes ende This joly clerk Jankyn, that was so hende Hath wedded me with greet solempnytee, And to hym yaf I al the lond and fee That evere was me yeven therbifoore; But afterward repented me ful soore; He nolde suffre nothyng of my list. 630 635 Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives Alison's young husband, Jankin, reads aloud from a book about bad wives every night: And thanne wolde he upon his Bible seke That like proverbe of Ecclesiaste, Where he comandeth, and forbedeth faste, Man shal nat suffre his wyf go roule aboute, Thanne wolde he seye right thus, withouten doute: "Who so that buyldeth his hous al of salwes, And priketh his blynde hors over the falwes, And suffreth his wyf to go seken halwes, Is worthy to been hanged on the galwes!" But al for noght, I sette noght an hawe Of his proverbes, n'of his olde sawe, Ne I wolde nat of hym corrected be. I hate hym that my vices telleth me; And so doo mo, God woot, of us than I. 660 665 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives Whan he hadde leyser and vacacioun From oother worldly occupacioun To reden on this book of wikked wyves. He knew of hem mo legendes and lyves Than been of goode wyves in the Bible. For trusteth wel, it is an impossible That any clerk wol speke good of wyves, But if it be of hooly seintes lyves, Ne of noon oother womman never the mo. Who peyntede the leon, tel me, who? By God! if wommen hadde writen stories, 690 695 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives 700 As clerkes han withinne hire oratories, They wolde han writen of men moore wikkednesse Than all the mark of Adam may redresse. ... But now to purpos, why I tolde thee That I was beten for a book, pardee. Upon a nyght Jankyn, that was oure sire, Redde on his book as he sat by the fire Of Eva first, that for hir wikkednesse Was al mankynde broght to wrecchednesse, For which that Jhesu Crist hymself was slayn, That boghte us with his herte blood agayn. Lo, heere expres of womman may ye fynde, That womman was the los of al mankynde. 720 725 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives Tho redde he me how Sampson loste hise heres, Slepynge, his lemman kitte it with hir sheres, Thurgh whiche tresoun loste he bothe hise yen. ... Of latter date of wyves hath he red, That somme han slayn hir housbondes in hir bed, And lete hir lecchour dighte hir al the nyght, Whan that the corps lay in the floor upright. And somme han dryve nayles in hir brayn Whil that they slepte, and thus they han hem slayn. Somme han hem yeve poysoun in hir drynke. He spak moore harm than herte may bithynke, And therwithal he knew of mo proverbes Than in this world ther growen gras or herbes. 775 780 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives "Bet is," quod he, "thyn habitacioun Be with a leon, or a foul dragoun, Than with a womman usynge for to chyde." "Bet is," quod he, "hye in the roof abyde Than with an angry wyf doun in the hous, They been so wikked and contrarious. They haten that hir housbondes loven ay. -He seyde, -- a womman cast hir shame away, Whan she cast of hir smok; -- and forthermo, -- A fair womman, but she be chaast also, Is lyk a gold ryng in a sowes nose. -Who wolde wene, or who wolde suppose, The wo that in myn herte was, and pyne? And whan I saugh he wolde nevere fyne To reden on this cursed book al nyght, 785 790 795 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives Al sodeynly thre leves have I plyght Out of his book, right as he radde, and eke I with my fest so took hym on the cheke, That in oure fyr he fil bakward adoun. And he up-stirte as dooth a wood leoun, And with his fest he smoot me on the heed That in the floor I lay, as I were deed. And whan he saugh how stille that I lay, He was agast, and wolde han fled his way, Til atte laste out of my swogh I breyde. 'O, hastow slayn me, false theef,' I seyde, 'And for my land thus hastow mordred me? Er I be deed, yet wol I kisse thee.' And neer he cam and kneled faire adoun, And seyde, 'Deere suster Alisoun, 800 805 810 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives As help me God, I shal thee nevere smyte. That I have doon, it is thyself to wyte, Foryeve it me, and that I thee biseke." And yet eftsoones I hitte hym on the cheke, And seyde, 'Theef, thus muchel am I wreke; Now wol I dye, I may no lenger speke.' But atte laste, with muchel care and wo, We fille acorded by us selven two. He yaf me al the bridel in myn hond, To han the governance of hous and lond, And of his tonge, and of his hond also, And made hym brenne his book anon right tho. And whan that I hadde geten unto me By maistrie, al the soveraynetee, 815 820 The Wife of Bath's Prologue: Janekin's Book of Wicked Wives 825 And that he seyde, 'Myn owene trewe wyf, Do as thee lust the terme of al thy lyf, Keepe thyn honour, and keep eek myn estaat,' After that day we hadden never debaat.
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