Day 4

The Canterbury Tales Lesson Plan

Discussion of Thought Questions

  1. 1

    How credible is the Wife of Bath, both in her use of sources and her experience?

    Her attitude does not inspire confidence: she emphasizes that a woman worth her salt can "prove the bird is crazy / and get her maid to witness she's a daisy" if her fellow hears a tale from a "little bird." Though she attacks the proverbs and experience of her husbands in the imaginary speeches to them, she does not refute them with argumentation, but ad hominem attacks. Her reference to Ptolemy's Almagest is faulty: the quote she attributes does not appear in the work. More tellingly, she misuses her Biblical sources, hasty to cite authorities beyond her experience,...

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