After this encounter, we do not hear much more of the fifth husband. Why is that? Is it because theres nothing left to tell now that she controls him? We arent even told how this marriage ends whether he died or they separated. Of tongue and fist, indeed of all hed got. I made him burn that book upon the spot. And when Id mastered him, and out of deadlock. Secured myself the sovereignty of wedlock. For ages, women have begged men to be more eager to listen and indulge us in our thoughts and desires. However, we tend to become bored with these men.
Though the two latter marriages dont seem successful, the reader can see the transition between husbands from ones that were simple and easily tames to the ones that were more difficult and harder to control. She is finding it harder to find a husband, now that she feels weakened, by what she considers the natural flaw of aging I wont prevent him! Ill have a husband yet. So now she needs to assert herself, using some other way to demonstrate her power. She doesnt really have the things that she describes as important, except for what she has superficially attainted through past marriages.
You say that some desire us for our wealth, Some for our shapeliness, our looks, our health, Some for our singing, others for our dancing, Some for our gentleness and dalliant glancing, And some because our hands are soft and small; But your account the devil gets us all. Though in her tale she brings out her point that women want dominance over a man in marriage, there are flaws to her story telling. The nominal hero in the tale is a rapist. The word rape is often promoted by the Wife of Bath throughout her tale.
The king in the Wifes tale represents authority and would have inflicted the punishment of death on the knight. The queen on the other hand would have preferred the knight to also be raped, an eye for an eye. Out of context, it can be seen that the Wife of Bath is the rapist knight herself. Since the story is her own, her traits can be seen through the different characters. The Wife of Bath is interchangeable. She can be the knight who conquers the woman and who is also blinded by the false importance of age and beauty.
Having created the knight and the theme of rape, she becomes a perpetual self-rapist. She could be the woman who is overtaken by the knights sexuality and strength, a sign of her sexual weakness. She could be the queen who is set upon this man learning that woman want/need control. Or even more so, we can see her as the hag who conquers the man and wins the power in the relationship. There is a gentle irony in the Wifes tale. Her story is of the antifeminist clichi?? that all women in their hearts desire to have control but also subconsciously want to be raped.