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Wife of Bath and the Prioress Compare & Contrast

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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

General Prologue - Character comparison and contrast

The Prioress (Nun) and the Wife of Bath are the only two female storytellers in this book. While they differ in age and experience they share similar characteristics. They are both very passionate women and love to appear courtly. They love the thought of traveling and wealth, but as we find out only one of these women experience these thoughts. The Prioress is young and wants to live a life totally different from what she has. She wants to adventure and travel the world. She wants to learn the French of France, not the lingo style of French that she currently speaks. Unlike the Prioress, the Wife of Bath has traveled all over the world. She has been married five times and has experience a lot in here life. The Prioress tries to be very dainty. She tries extremely hard to appear courtly and perfect. Although she tries to be courtly, she has non-courtly habits such as whistling through her nose and speaking improper French. She does things like weeping after she sees a caught mouse. Yet, she has no problem feed roast meat to her little dogs which is very puzzling behavior if she wants to appear courtly.

The Wife of Bath is a woman of plenty wealth and fortune. She is a fashionable women who wears extravagant and expensive clothing; "Her stocking were of the finest scarlet, tightly drawn up above glossy new shoes." She wore kerchiefs made of the finest texture over her head every Sunday. She visited Jerusalem, Rome, Boulogne and crossed many foreign rivers. She rode an ambling horse comfortably which explains her being accustom of her life of wealth. Others, like the Prioress would dream and aspire about living the like of the Wife of Bath. The Wife of Bath is truly royalty and lived in fortune for most of her life.

The Wife of Bath was rich and her mid-life, while the Prioress was poor and young. The Wife of Bath had "great hips" and was somewhat attractive since she was married to five different men. The narrator describes The Prioress to be some what of an attractive young woman. "Her nose was elegant, her eyes grey as glass; her mouth was small, but soft and red, her forehead, certainly, was fair of spread." Like the Wife of Bath, The Prioress liked to dress and adorn herself in quality clothing. Although they both loved the dress well, The Prioress in a humble fashion compared to the Wife of Bath. The Prioress dresses, her clothing seems to slightly contradict the implied modesty of a nun. Her clothes seemed to have a graceful charm. Like the Wife of Bath, The Prioress is very elegantly dressed. She wears a rosary of coral beads which is appealing. She dressed so well to appear courtly and as a woman of high character.

Both the Wife of Bath and The Prioress expressed there passions in their own ways. The Prioress was in love with the thought of love carrying a coral bead that said 'Amor Vincit Omnia' which translates to 'Love Conquers All.' On the contrary, The Wife of Bath enjoys experiencing different men. The Wife of Bath craves fun in sexual ways and reminds me somewhat of a cougar. I compare her to a cougar ( a woman who goes with younger men) because she likes experiencing different men in her life. She is non-humble in my opinion. She was on a "religious" pilgrimage, but her attentions are more on finding husband number six! The Prioress does seek attention which



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