Quest and Question in 'The Wife of Bath's Tale'

Diane Speed


The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale are at present, it seems, the most popular part of The Canterbury Tales' The marked increase of interest in this particular pilgrim and her performance over recent years has mainly been due to the fact that, as the only woman of the world amongst the pilgrims, themselves characters in the best-known of medieval English fictional narratives, the Wife has become a major focus of attention for feminist discourses. At a time when it is usual to diminish the significance of the individual narrative voice in favour of the narrative itself, this pilgrim narrator is commonly treated as a somewhat more important text than her own tale.

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