1. What do we already know about the Wife of Bath from the Prologue? Why do you think Chaucer may emphasize these particular details?
  2. The Wife's opening remarks are an elaborate answer to the exposition of Jerome's "Anti-Jovianian," a misogynist and anti-marital tract. What is the effect of her extended attempts at rebuttal?
  3. What are some ways in which the Wife undercuts her own argument?
  4. To what extent does she make a good case for herself? For sexual enjoyment? Are there arguments she could make but doesn't?
  5. Is the Wife as unconventional as her defensiveness would suggest? Which aspects of her life are orthodox and which less so?
  6. What is the effect of her narration of her life with the five husbands? Is there a progression in her experiences? Is she accurate in claiming authority in describing the woes of marriage?
  7. At the end, to you feel more or less sympathy with her? On what gounds is her reconciliation with Jenekin supposedly based? Is she in fact eager to dominate him?
  8. What effect is created by the interruptions of the Pardoner, Friar, and Summoner?
  9. Why do you think hers is the longest prologue? Is it appropriate that it be longer than the tale itself?
  10. What relation does her tale bear to her preoccupations in her prologue? Is it in fact a tale of female mastery and domination? What does the old woman of the tale desire? What does the tale seem to reveal about the Wife's own fantasy life?
  11. What effect is created by the Wife's repeated intrusion as a narrator in her own tale? Her insertion of anti-feminist jokes and deprecating views on women?
  12. What do you believe is Chaucer's final response to the Wife of Bath? Has this been the portrait of an essentially happy and successful woman? On what gounds does the narrator grant her respect?
  13. If this tale were to be written today, what are some ways in which it might need to be changed for a modern audience?