The After Dinner Scholar

The Wife of Bath and the Meaning of Marriage with Prof. Adam Cooper

September 27, 2022

Geoffrey Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales describing the beauty of April and the countryside coming back to life. It is the time, he tells us, “Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.” “And specially,” he adds, “from every shires ende / Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende.”

A small company of pilgrims forms and, as the go, each tells a tale. 

Like the Samaritan woman Jesus spoke with in John chapter four, The Wife of Bath says she has had five husbands not to mention “other companye in youthe.” She is a wealthy woman who had been on pilgrimage as far as Jerusalem. She is also rather fond of sex and knows quite a bit about marriage.

Prof. Adam Cooper has been reading The Canterbury Tales with Wyoming Catholic College juniors and shared these thoughts.

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