But whilst Bocaccio does not give much importance to frame, one f Chaucer's greatest and most particular abilities lies in the creation f characters. Chaucer's main interest, and quite a modern one, is on portraying different human types.
Chaucer chooses sources that fit with his purposes, using intertextuality to achieve a personal creative goal. The Wife f Baths's Tale is really appropriate to her character. Drawn from a popular story -already written by Gower in his Confessio Amantis, and later to become The Wedding f Sir Gawen and the Dame f Ragnell (in a manuscript written circa 1450)- the Tale looks for an answer to the question 'What do women most desire'.
In the prologue to the tale, Chaucer develops some f his most shiny and colorful narrative that's containing great examples f intertextuality, but they are not as obvious as in the tale. For instance, there is a clear influence f Confessions, in the opening lines f the Wife's parliament: "If there were no authority on earth/ except experience; mine, for what it's worth,/ and that's enough for me, all goes to show/ that marriage is a raisery and a woe;/ For let me say, if I may make so bold,/ My lords, since when I was but twelve years old,/ Thanks be to God Eternal evermore,/ Five husbands have I had at the church door;" (Chaucer 279).
The story that the pilgrims are going to listen to it's the story f her life and marriages. Truth be told, the wife's tale has little to do with the Confessions f St. Agoustin. In fact, the prologue's main plot is closer to the fabliaux tradition and its popular and sexual-orientated stories. The prologue shares with the Confessions a similar autobiographical tone, but switched to serve Chaucer's intentions, that in this case are slightly ironical. Fabliaux's witty word games are also shown in this prologue. "God bade us all to wax and multiply./ That kindly text I well can understand." (280) Or: "Let them be pure wheat loaves f maiden head/ And let us wives be known for barley-bread;/Yet Mark can tell that barley-bread sufficed/to freshen many at the hand f Christ" (282).
The cheeky Wife's personality seems to be pretty convenient to the word games and the humorous content f her parliament. There is also strong influence f the exempla's tone that is also present in the prologue. "Listen, I'll tell you how I used to hold them,/you knowing women, who can understand." (284) Here, the wife uses her experiences to advise women on how to treat their husbands. The intention f her prologue is similar to the aim f the priest's exemplas, teaching the populace on how to behave. f course, the prologue's content is, again, far away from the exempla's and closer to popular tradition.
Chaucer's tales are written in iambic couplets, a form that allows him to express himself more freely and brings him to one f his highest achievements: the transformation f English language into a vehicle that could drive popular and high literature through new ways f expression.
This is probably one f the most attractive peculiarities f Chaucer, and probably the one that attracted Shakespeare to Chaucer the most. Chaucer's aim to transform English language was present in