Reflection: Grappling with Complexity The Wife of Bath's Prologue - Section 2: Introducing The Wife of Bath


Students are often amazed at what a close reading of the Wife of Bath in the General Prologue can reveal about her and her character. The last two lines in particular are deeply revealing and this year there was a "huh, how did we get that much meaning from those two lines" reaction from the students. 

I explain to the students that it's about zeroing in on the verbs first, and then the adjectives and adverbs.  For example in those last two likes it says, "Of remedies of love she knew perchaunce". Knowing a remedy suggests that she has training in cures.  To know a cure she most be able to identify the disease. This kind of inductive thinking can be overwhelming to kids, but it can also be empowering.  The key, is slowing down and taking students through the steps. Chaucer is deliberately setting up a relationship between "remedies" and "know" by putting remedies first, he wants us to think about cures and their causes and then to let us know that the Wife has experience with remedies, she knows them. 


  Using Vocabulary to Build Comprehension
  Grappling with Complexity: Using Vocabulary to Build Comprehension
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The Wife of Bath's Prologue

Unit 7: Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath's Tale
Lesson 1 of 8

Objective: SWBAT read understanding the subtexts of the text including purpose and audience.

Big Idea: How does Chaucer give female characters voice? Is the voice ironic?

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7 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, Research and Technology, research methods (Writing), outlining, irony, Canterbury Tales, The Wife of Bath, purpose and audience, Subtext, organization, analyze details and draw conclusions, History of ideas, difficult vocabulary, word etymologies
  55 minutes
wife of bath
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