The Franklin & the Wife of Bath

Amanda Conrath & Renee LeGros

The Wife of Bath

A good woman lived near Bath

Unfortunately she was somewhat deaf

She was a skilled maker of cloth

And she was better at cloth-making than some famous people

Nobody dared be first in line for a church offering

If someone did, she would get pissed off and refuse to offer anything

Her head cover was finely woven

It was rather heavy looking as well

And she wore it on her head every Sunday

She wore red stockings

They weren't wrinkled and her shoes always looked nice

She had strong facial features and fair skin with rosy cheeks

She was a very good wife and had married 5 men

As a young woman, she didn't date or have sex

But there's no need to say that applies to now

She's been to Jerusalem 3 times

She'd been all over the world

She'd been to Rome, Boulogne, Galicia, and Cologne

She is an experienced traveler who knows a lot

Her teeth are gapped and she rides a slow horse

She wears a skirt over her large hips and spurs on her feet

She would joke about love she had experienced to friends

Because that's all she knew to do around other people

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The Franklin

A rich landowner was in the pilgrims' group

His beard was very white

His face was ruddy and red

He loved to drink wine, even in the morning

And he lived by the ideals of Epicurus

Thus he believed that total pleasure led to true happiness

He was a great house owner

Likened to St. Julian for his hospitality

All of his food (bread, ale, etc.) was good and one of a kind

Nobody had more/better wine than he did

His house always had some kind of baked good

And he always had plentiful meats and fish

It seemed to rain all sorts of goodies in his house

His food changed constantly according to the season

He owned many partridges in cages for eating

And a pond of fish for eating as well

His cook would regret it if his sauce wasn't strong/sharp

Even if he wasn't home, his table was set and ready for eating

He was a lord and sire (important guy) during law business

He's also a member of parliament

At his side, he carries a dagger and a white silk purse

He was once a sheriff and tax overseer

Nowhere else was there another man as gentlemanly as he

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Quotes of Significance

"In fellowship [The Wife of Bath] well could she laugh and carp. Of remedies of love she knew perchance" (Chaucer ln. 474-475). This is important because it tells the reader about her personality around others despite being through a lot of ended relationships.


The Franklin was said to be "Epicurus's own son" (Chaucer ln. 337). Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher to have taught that utmost pleasure was the greatest good. This tells the reader that the Franklin is a very optimistic person who believes in always having a positive outlook on life. It also sings of his materialistic tendencies.

Modern Comparison

The Wife of Bath presents herself as an expert on marriage and discusses her experiences of love. This is because she's been married five times. She admits to using her femininity to control her husbands, utilizing her sexual power as an advantage in her relationships. She states in the beginning of her prologue that "a good husband is old, rich, and submissive". She's practically the equivalent to every single member of Bravo's Real Housewives.


The Franklin, in modern society, would be a typical rich white man who owns a large, nice house. There isn't anyone specific we could compare him to, so his description is up for a vague comparison. We were going to say Donald Trump, but The Franklin seems like a pretty nice and chivalrous guy, so we wouldn't do that to him.

Interaction

While riding next to one another, the two would probably get along fairly decently. The Wife of Bath's humor and fine clothing may impress the Franklin while his wealth and positivity would probably draw the Wife to liking him. They would probably spend most of their trip gossiping and talking about other people from parties and past relationships as the two seem to have lots of experience with social interactions. There is a good chance that they may even grow close romantically as they are closer in age as suggested by the Franklin's beard and the Wife's lost husbands and her many trips to Jerusalem in years gone by.


There's also a good chance that they would not get along at all as the Franklin seems to be partially (if not completely) consumed by materialism while the Wife blatantly makes it clear that she is all about donating (even if it is only because she wants everybody to know how much of a philanthropist she is). The wife is obviously a God-fearing woman who seems to follow the teachings of the church to a tee whereas the Franklin follows and respects the teachings of a philosopher more closely, a practice frowned upon by the church at the time that the tales were written.