In Professor Seaman’s preview of this week, one question seemed to stick out in my mind as being extremely thought-provoking. I think it is intriguing to notice how the Wife of Bath’s prologue concludes in relation to her actual story’s resolution. She asks for permission to commence her story instead of presuming authority to simply begin as she wishes. However, in her tale, the female character is given total authority to do as she pleases when the knight says, “put me in your wise governance” (85).
One must consider that in her history, her husband too gives her free reign, saying she can “do as [she] [wish]” (72). In this case, the two endings are extremely similar and promote the action of giving women freedom. However, in each scenario the discretion for each woman must be given by a man and cannot really be taken by the woman herself unless it is offered first. The Wife of Bath’s tale ends with a peculiar quote that might combat this statement, though: “I pray Jhesu shorte hir lives/That wol not be governed by hir wives” (85). This means that the governance by one’s wife should be seen as preferable and as the most agreeable situation that can lead to a lasting marriage and life.