Through Chaucer’s description of the Wife of Bath’s appearance through the use of imagery, it is suggested that the woman is finely and even ostentatiously dressed. Chaucer uses imagery to suggest that the Wife of Bath dresses in an ostentatious manner. Her clothes are described as being, “of finest weave and ground/. . . [and] Her hose [is] of the choicest scarlet red” (line #). The fact that her clothes have been made of expensive and luxurious materials as well as an ornate red color suggests that the Wife of Bath is attempting to get others to notice and admire her for her attire.
Chaucer appears to be critical of the Wife of Bath when he mentions her background. He uses a sarcastic tone to illustrate how the Wife of Bath is a hypocrite because she has poor moral values while she tries to appear respectable. Chaucer sarcastically states that the Wife of Bath has been “respectable throughout her life/ With five churched husbands”(line #s). This statement is sarcastic because although the woman has been married properly through the Church, she has not been the most devout wife because she has been married five times. Therefore, even though C...
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...ay the Wife of Bath as someone who is fraudulent when portraying her social status by showing how she is willing to spend all of her money in order to prevent herself from appearing to be lower than a fellow housewife. Therefore, the Wife of Bath is higher classed than the common peasant, but she is not at the level of nobility.
The Wife of Bath is portrayed as being promiscuous, restless, arrogant, and middle classed in her character’s introduction which allows Chaucer to establish what type of person she is before she tells her tale. This established perception of the character allows the reader to question the validity of her tale as well as her bias towards the tale. Through metaphors, tone, and imagery, Chaucer paints a picture of the Wife of Bath’s personality, background, and appearance which helps the reader interpret her tale later on in The Canterbury Tales.
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