The Wife of Baths Tale

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  • There was once a knight driven by lust and desire. One day while he was riding along the river he came across a young woman alone, and forced himself upon her sexually.
  • Mmm look what we have here.
  • The horrific act of raping the maiden results in punishment. In the king's court, the king insists the knight be put to death, however the queen asks that he is given a chance to prove himself. If he can answer her question correctly in one year, he may survive.
  • You shall live if you can answer me: What is the thing that women most desire?
  • The knight traveled around in search of the answer, asking people everywhere what women desired most. Unfortunately, the knight received various different answers and began to lose hope.
  • Honor
  • Fun in bed
  • To be oft widowed and remarried
  • Jollity and pleasure
  • As the knight traveled home disappointed, he came across an ugly old hag. She offers her help to the knight and provide him with the correct answer, but only if he swears to obey whatever she requests of him.
  • Upon my honor, I agree
  • Give me your hand and swear to do whatever I shall next require of you...And you shall know the answer before night.
  • The knight returns to the court to reveal his answer. He answers correctly and his life is spared. Before leaving, the old hag asks that the queen support her and make sure the knight lives up to his promise to the hag.
  • He's saved his life!
  • A woman wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband as over her lover, and master him; he must not be above her.
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