The Wife of Bath’s Tale

Friday, September 19, 2003

The Wife of Bath’s Tale

Extract from blog : Blue, with Stars : 2003 – 2006

On TV at the moment they are doing modern-day adaptations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and last night was The Wife of Bath – I think last week was The Miller. I was made to “do” The Wife of Bath at school but it was heavily censored. I remember many words were only represented by lines of stars, and the definitions of others were mysteriously missing from the index. I do wonder how much of the tale there actually was left as most of it was fairly rude – no wonder I had no memory of the actual story. And Chaucer does have this thing with plot – ie he seems to be before the time when people began to think stories ought to be satisfying, symmetrical, and all hang together. His stories are like slices of everyday life – untidy, purposeless – and you begin to think ‘Yes but why … ‘ and ‘Why are you telling me all this ..?’ Frustrating to a reader used to tight plots and twists at the end. However, they seem to have gathered together the best actors and actresses – Julie Walters and Bill Nighy in this one – and really heavyweight actors can pull anything off by sheer force of personality I think.

Social problems

There seems to be a lot on TV at the moment about binge drinking, and the ladette culture which leads women to binge too. They are talking about advertising campaigns and treatments and all sorts of things to persuade people not to guzzle so much but as always they don’t seem to have tried to find out why it’s happening. After all people must go out behaving badly and making themselves ill because it’s pleasurable or necessary to them – and to stop them doing it you have to provide them with an alternative activity. It is my guess that people are bored – that human beings are not designed for a life where there is no fighting to do, no problems to solve, nothing much left, socially. No religion either, no structure, no hope. So they are looking for escapism. Drink is only one way of course – for myself, I read, I go to films, I study, I walk, but it is all in an effort to escape or forget. We are not so different.

# posted @ 8:14 AM

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