The Morality Of Virginia In The Physician's Tale

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The Physician’s Tale is a moral allegory centered around a knight named Virginius, his daughter Virginia, and a powerful judge named Appius. The tale starts with a detailed analysis on the beauty of Virginia, describing has as fair and in “excellent beauty”, as well as claiming that Nature had “Moulded her to so great an excellence”. Her beauty is put into perspective when several allusions to the great ancient artists of Pygmalion, Apelles, and Zeuxis are made: “Behold now, I, Nature,/Thus can I form and paint a creature pure/When I desire. Who can it counterfeit?/Pygmalion? Nay, not though he forge and beat,/Or curve, or paint; and I dare say again,/Apelles, Zeuxis too, should work in vain,/Either to carve or paint, or forge or beat,/if they presumed my work to counterfeit.” (l. 11-18). The tale also makes note of how innocent Virginia is, by saying she is “Tended to virtue and to gentleness/Modest she was, with maiden bashfulness” (l. …show more content…
One of which is the one posed by the Physician himself, which states “Forsake your sin before sin shall you forsake.” (l. 286). This leads the reader to believe that one must confess their sins, for sin leads to death. However, the attack on chivalry is the strongest of the moral. Although it may not be immediately obvious, chivalry is satirized, and made out to be more harmful than good. This is seen by how the knight, Virginius, chose his chivalric values over his daughter’s life. Granted, the sacrificial offering made by Virginius could be seen as a strong showing of love, it is more likely that the Physician was attacking the ideals of chivalry by Virginius not even accepting the possibility of another way when his daughter poses the question “‘O my good father, must I die?/Is there no grace? Is there no remedy?’” (l. 235-36). Despite the fact that a solid case can be made for other morals, the Physician was most likely satirizing chivalry in his

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