The Wife of Bath is one of Geoffrey Chaucer's more vibrant characters. The Wife of Bath had outlived five husbands and Chaucer leads the reader to believe that she is looking for her sixth on the trip to Canterbury. The Wife of Bath is witty, intelligent, opinionated, and sensual. Geoffrey Chaucer also gives a somewhat detailed description of the Wife of Bath. Other than her being witty, intelligent, opinionated, and sensual Chaucer also informs the reader that she is extremely old. She was also somewhat deaf and had gap-teeth set widely, large hips, and her heels spurred sharply under. Chaucer also tells that she likes to be in company to laugh and chat. Of all the Pilgrims on the trip to Canterbury, The Wife of Bath is quite possibly the most real to the reader.
The Wife of Bath tells a tale of a young knight in King Arthur's day who was a lusty liver. One day as he was riding from the river he came across a pretty young girl who was alone. No matter what the girl said by force he took her virginity. The actions of the knight got around town and because of this act of violence created a stir. By petitioning to the king for her the knight was commanded to lose his head by course of law. The knight was as good as dead, but the queen convinced the king to give her the case. She was granted his life and she could choose whether to show mercy or refuse. The queen told the knight that she would spare his life if he could answer one question. The queen wanted the knight to answer what is the thing that women most desire. Since the knight couldn't answer the question that moment she told him to return a year and a day later and if he had the answer then his life would be saved. The knight went through every town and knocked on every door in search of the answer to save his life. A year had passed and the knight had no answer. On his day to return to the queen he saw 20 or so ladies dancing in a meadow.