Gendered Relationships and Marriage in The Wife of Bath’s Tale

The Wife of Bath’s Prologue begins with a defense of serial marriage. The Wife of Bath, who has been married five times, launches her argument against those who might claim that a once-widowed woman ought to become a nun. The Wife’s argument moves on to be a defense of marriage, period. She insists that though those who choose to marry might not be as spiritually perfect as people who remain chaste all their lives, they are still fulfilling God’s commandments.

In what ways is the language of the Wife’s Prologue different from that of her Tale? The Wife’s Prologue has little thematic connection with her Tale; to what extent do you agree?
Examine how Chaucer uses first person narration in both The Prologue and The Tale to present the character of the Wife. In what ways does Chaucer shape the reader’s judgement of the Wife?
What are the major themes of the Wife’s Tale? To what extent do you find these themes relevant to the Wife and the account of her marriages which she gives in her Prologue?

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The essay will need to be typed in MLA format, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, and be a minimum of 4 FULL pages. Anything less than 4 FULL pages will receive an “F.”
This is an argument essay and you will need to provide proper citations from your literary work that illustrate and back up your claim(s).


You must use two additional academic sources to support your thesis (this means that there should be 3 – 4 sources listed on the works cited page).

Make sure that your essay meets the following criteria to earn maximum credit:

Has an introduction that provides an overview of the work (CAUTION! not a long plot summary)
Provides a specific, clear claim in the introductory paragraph.
Contains a claim/thesis that identifies how the literary elements/techniques help to create theme/meaning in the story.
Supports each reason (proposed argument) with specific textual references to the work that validates your claim
Has an effective BODY structure: Each paragraph begins with a clear topic sentence that links to support of the literary claim made in the introduction; each paragraph develops the topic sentence with supporting ideas and specific textual evidence.
Uses transition devices to move readers from idea to idea coherently at the beginning of paragraphs and within paragraphs
Uses accurate in-text parenthetical citations to identify primary source material from the text
Includes a works cited list that accurately identifies the works that you have used in the essay
Includes a concluding paragraph that provides closure and connects to your claim
Avoids SERIOUS sentence errors (fragments, comma splices, and fused sentences)
Avoids grammatical errors, including mechanics, usage, syntax, and punctuation errors.
Avoids spelling errors (principle and principal are not the same word).
Includes a title that alerts readers to the content of your essay. (“The Lottery” was written by Shirley Jackson. It cannot be the title of your essay unless YOU are Shirley Jackson. A better title might be Universal Thematic Issues in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”.
Is structured and submitted in correct MLA 8 format

As with all work in this class, there is an expectation of college level literacy standards. A paper that contains an excessive number of grammatical and sentence level errors will not be eligible for greater than the grade of “D”.

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