The Importance Of Agreements In The Wife Of Bath's Tale

887 Words 4 Pages
Agreements between two people are made every day with fickle promises that are broken within a moment’s notice, however, when one speaks about agreements made in texts, it seems as if those agreements hold the power to alter the course of an entire story or universe and hold deep consequences if broken. Within medieval texts, these agreements are the basis of many great adventures and quests made by heroes of the brave and bold in order to establish a theme of heroism and justice. In “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight include agreements that, when we analyze them carefully, suggest that agreements are vows meant to be kept until the very end, implying that trust in another by making an agreement is the …show more content…
Kasdorf states in class that we are “Free to do whatever we want, [he] holds no power to stop us, however whatever consequences we shall find are that of our own doing,” (Kasdorf) which relates well to the consequences the Knight faces in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” The Knight had committed a dark crime and was punished by being sent on a quest to find what a maiden desires most. The journey was unsuccessful until the final day where he met the old woman who made an agreement with him. If he did whatever she desired, she would tell him what a maiden desires most. When he made his return after successfully answering the question of what a lady desires most, he was put into a difficult spot with the old woman who desires for his hand in marriage, to which she berates his infidelity in his …show more content…
Though the story did end with the marriage between the two ending in success, it shows how flimsy promises and agreements are even in harsh circumstances like the one the Knight was in. He accepts the help of the old woman and makes an agreement with her only to try and get out of it when the request was not in his best interest. In the end, he simply lets her do what she wants, making her decision the final one. This is important in showing how crucial agreements are to storytelling, for it creates this importance of a promise that is not always followed now. Yet it also shows how fickle these promises are, the old woman tells the Knight this as she states that, “...folk of wyves maken noon assay / Til they be wedded. Olde dotard shrewe! / And thanne, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.” (Lines 290-292) What she is referring to is marriage, another agreement that holds power in writing, and it is made out to be a dark thing in this type of literature, for it is shown as a promise linked to roses with thorns, a beautiful yet painful thing that only withers in the

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