The Canterbury Tales 19: The Physician's Tale Questions and Answers

Geoffrey Chaucer

19: The Physician's Tale Questions and Answers

Study Questions
l. What characteristic of an exemplum is found in The Physician's Tale?

2. How are The Franklin's Tale, The Physician's Tale, and The Second Nun's Tale alike?

3. In what way are they different?

4. What is the theme of The Physician's Tale?

5. In what way does Virginius represent true justice and how does Appius represent justice corrupted?

6. How does Virginia, though pagan, fit into the medieval
Christian concept of virtuous womanhood?

7. How did Chaucer change his tale from the original?

8. On what source is The Physician's Tale based?

9. What trumped up charges put Virginia under the control
of the evil judge?

10. How is Virginius saved from Appius' outrage when Virginius defies the wicked order to turn his daughter over to the court?

Answers
1. It contains a model of virtue in Virginia; she is perfectly pure and perfectly obedient.

2. All of them contain examples of virtuous women.

3. Virginia receives no reward for her purity; Dorigen receives an earthly reward; and St. Cecelia is granted an eternal
reward for her chastity.

4. A virtuous woman will prefer death to dishonor.

5. Virginius has motives which are completely pure and honorable, while Appius is motivated by his lustful desire.

6. She accepts death rather than sexual soiling.

7. In the original tale, Virginius kills his daughter in public.
In Chaucer's tale, it is a private act.

8. It is based on the French work Le Roman de la Rose.

9. She is accused of being a runaway slave girl belonging to the judge's co-conspirator.

10. A large group of citizens rushes into the court to save Virginius and punish Appius.