Thursday, April 4, 2013

A-Z: "D" is for Doctor, a.k.a. The Physician

Day 4 of A-Z here  "D" is for the doctor or The Physician in the Canterbury Tales.  

The physician is an educated and arrogant doctor, who has built his wealth by diagnosing and prescribing medicines and cures to his patients.  He's cunning and is obsessed with increasing his pockets.  His resume and business success make him appear impressive, but his methods are lacking.  I think what makes him so great is his tale.

The physician's tale is a tragedy plain and simple.  A great knight/nobleman, Virginius, was married and he and his wife were blessed with only child, a daughter, Virginia.  She was a beautiful, kind and generous maiden and at only fourteen her beauty was well known throughout the region. One day a judge spots her and "the devil leapt into his heart."  In that instant, he had to have her and so the judge devised a plan with a local rascal to officially seize Virginia.  The rascal made a formal complaint to the judge stating that Virginius stole his servant girl years ago and the judge ordered Virginius to respond to the accusation.  When he did the judge decreed that he bring his daughter to the Judges home where she would stay.  The father saw through the judge's sadistic plot.  Outraged and terrified for his daughter, he summoned her and gave her the choice.  She could choose to live with the lecher or if he would save her by killing her so the judge could not steal her innocence.  Reading these passages you can't help but feel the father's love and pain for his daughter.  He ended up cutting off her head and then more or less dropped it on the judge's doorstep.  

The most interesting part I found in the story is The Physician or Chaucer giving guidance about parenting and our youth.  This was my favorite passage 93-102:

You fathers too, and mothers, 
you with any Children, be it one or be it many, 
The charge is yours to keep them in surveillance 
While they remain within your governance. 
Beware lest by example, how you live, 
Or by neglect to chasten them, 
to give Them guidance, they may perish. 
I daresay That if they do so, dearly you will pay. 
When there's a shepherd soft and negligent, 
Many a sheep and lamb by wolf are rent.

So what do you think?  Like The Physician's Tale.  It gave me a lump in my throat.

Mina B.


Laura said...

This is one I hadn't actually heard, and it's so tragic. I love that passage.

Dani Jax said...

What a tale! This piece is brilliant.
Dani & Jax @ Cover Girls

Dani Jax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dani said...

Wow, that is a *killer* choice. Sorry... bad pun.
Dani @ Entertaining Interests

Mark Means said...

Quite the tragic tale. I'm sorely lacking in my knowledge of the Tales, but I'm getting an education here, for sure :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

He's such a sleeze! And a terrific character.

Patricia Bacon said...

Great D word. Great site... some of the physician attributes are seen today..... hopefully not too many, though!!!

Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

Al Diaz said...

It's a good but sad tale. I can just imagine the father's pain in having to kill his daughter. Terrible. The quote is very good!

Misha Gericke said...

O_O What a choice to make. Wow.

Cynthia said...

Oh my. I hope that karma got back at the judge and his party who conspired with him.

Elise Fallson said...

You have over 2000 followers. That's awesome! :D

Nick Wilford said...

Now that's what you call a powerful tale - truly heartwrenching. I never knew.

Lexa Cain said...

That's dreadful! Wasn't there a nunnery or some relatives he could leave her with (or maybe some dwarves)? Poor girl...

Michael Pierce said...

That would be an incredibly hard choice...but did he really have to cut off her head? I couldn't do that.

mshatch said...

That's a horrifying tale!