The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Hamel, Mary. "The Wife of Bath and a Contemporary Murderer." 14 (1979): 132-39.
The account in the Wife of Bath's Prologue, ll. 765-68, of a wife's murder of her husband in his bed and adultery with her lover in the same bed is based not on a written source but on an actual murder recounted in the Westminister Chronicle for 1388. This contemporary crime and others like it correct recent speculations that the Wife of Bath murdered her fourth husband, with or without the aid of her fifth. Jankyn's final diatribe, of which these lines are a part, emphasizes not murder but female sexuality.