Interpretations Of Physicians In The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer

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Interpretations of Physicians
Coughs. Running noses. Blisters. Bruises. Upset stomachs. Nausea. Headaches. Today, symptoms of these kind, as well as many other disease and illnesses can quickly dissipate with the aid of doctors and medical staff. In developed countries, sickness is not feared. However, in times long ago, and even in parts of the world today, mere symptoms foreboded fatalities. These situations can be prevented with resources, sterile environments, informed medical staff, and doctors. In the late 1300’s, medical doctors were considered learned professionals, yet an author during the time period was skeptical of physicians and explicates this doubt through a written story; though today, the opinions of the medical
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According to Bryon Grigsby, President of Moravian College and author of “The Social Position of the Surgeon in London, 1350-1450 Bryon Grigsby”, Chaucer never mentions that the Physician, a character in The Canterbury Tales on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas A. Becket in Canterbury, performs a surgical procedure. Physicians were separate professions from surgeons; whereas physicians were considered to have learned professions, surgeons were considered to have craft professions. As a surgeon was considered to have a craft profession, they were often untrained (73). Nevertheless, they often directly affected patient health, because they lacerated or cut open the patient’s body. As a result of the lack of training and direct contact, surgeons were involved in a higher percentage of malpractice lawsuits than physicians (72). Physicians possessed “a repository of medical knowledge” (Grigsby 73). When treating their patients, they used herbs that rarely benefited or harmed the patient. Therefore, physicians were not often blamed for their malpractice because their treatment methods were difficult to link to poor health as most patients declined in overall health as illnesses progressed, yet were not entirely beneficial for the treatment of patients (72). To acquire their …show more content…
According to Michael Delahoyde, a clinical professor of English at Washington State University and author of “Chaucer: The Physician’s Tale,” the Physician’s tale is of a knight named Virginius and his daughter Virginia, known for her purity and innocence. Apius, an evil judge, desires Virginia and so conspires with an ill-mannered man by the name of Claudius. In a court hearing, it is decided that Claudius claims that Virginia was his serving girl, stolen from him by Virginius. Virginius hears this news and departs for home. In order to protect Virginia from Claudius, her father explains that he must chop off her head so that she can forever remain pure. She agrees, and Virginius brings her head back to the courtroom. The townspeople then decide that the judge is at fault, and throw him into a jail cell. The story soon after concludes, and the Physician finishes the narration with an unrelated admonition to forsake sin before sin destroys you. According to Delahoyde, “the moralism is misguided, and praising virtue in a morally revolting tale is simply nuts. The real center of the tale is the murder and sadistic sensationalism is behind that.” The barbarity that the Physician shows further underlines his immoralistic nature. In addition, Delahoyde says that other characters from The Canterbury Tales who are obsessed with treasure tell similar tales,

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