Now, it was the Wife of Bath's turn to tell her tale. She began with a lengthy prologue. In the prologue, the Wife familiarized the listeners with her understanding of marriage, having married five times and then goes on to share the story about her husbands.
Even though I have been criticized about marrying so many times, I am not ashamed of my past.
The Wife of Bath starts justifying and defending her marriages by using multiple religious scriptures. She brings up Old Testament Figures such as Abraham and Jacob and says that they enjoyed multiple wives. She also goes on to state that while virginity is important, it is also important to lose it to make more virgins. It can now be established that the Wife's utmost strength is her sexual manipulation.
Oh, I had so much fun when I was young. Everything was easier! *sigh*
At this point, the Pardoner interrupts. He is worried that his future wife will control his body and mind, just like the Wife controlled her husbands. The Wife comforts him and tells him to patiently listen to the whole story so that maybe, his viewpoint will change.
Oh my! What if my future wife turns out to be like your manipulative self?
The Wife then starts talking about her first three husbands. She says that they were the good ones because they were rich, old and foolish. She used to torment and manipulate these husbands. She also refused to give the men full satisfaction in bed, unless they gave her money. In this way, the Wife brought her first three husbands under total submission.
The Wife, in her youth, with one of her first three husbands:
The Wife then starts to tell the story of her fourth husband and digresses a bit. She reminisces about the old times and how she used to sing and dance in her youth. Then, she snaps out of it and goes on to tell the pilgrims how she was always trying to make him jealous. The fourth husband was said to have died while she was in Jerusalem.
After the Wife finished her prologue, she stated that she was going to start her tale. The earns her a snarky comment from the Friar, who comments on her lengthy words. The Summoner then tells him to quiet down and there is an argument between the two. Finally, the Host calms them both down and urges the Wife to start her tale, thereby concluding the Wife's prologue.