Chaucer is successful in creating humour in the Wife of Baths prologue and tale.

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With close reference to at least three episodes, show how Chaucer creates humour in the Wife of Bath’s prologue (&/ or) Tale.

Chaucer was born in 1343, and was known for his renowned collection of the Canterbury tales. A group of pilgrims of different social ranks travelled to Canterbury, each telling their tale on the remarkable journey. From the Tabard Inn to the shrine of St Thomas á Becket which lay in Canterbury, they made a pact to illustrate stories to one another. Chaucer uses each individual character prologue to capture the reader’s attention, as well as engage them to a feel for each pilgrim’s behaviour.

Chaucer is successful in creating humour in the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale. A heavy use of fabliaux, (which are extended jokes that are commonly known to be bawdy and full of sexual innuendo) is used to emphasize the ridicule of the wife of Bath in whom Chaucer satirizes. An example of this is found in lines 706-710 where the wife of Bath is implying that mature scholars unable to hold an erection anymore write ‘tell-tale’ attacks against women at the bitterness of their impotence. It is possible that she may be indirecting Jankin’s future with her as he himself is indeed a scholar. She says “Therefore no woman of no clerk is preysed. The clerk, when he is oold and may nought do, of Venus werkes worth his olde sho, Thanne sit he down and writ in his dotage That women kan nat kepe hir marriage.” This is particularly hilarious because his penis is being referred to as an ‘old shoe’ with the connotations of his manhood being ‘worn out’  and old- fashioned, as well as subtly implying the wife of Bath needed a new penis belonging to a fresh, new husband.

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The most obvious sense of humour in this tale, is in the title itself, it’s biggest implication being that because she has had her fun with men, as well as married some of them; “ I hadde the bettre  leyser for to pleye, And for to se, and eek for to be see Of lusty folk” that she is married in a sense to the whole of the town of bath. She also knew so much about marriage from her past experiences that she could lend advice to an women in her village who had problems with men, almost like ...

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