The Physician’s Tale

In this article will discuss The Physician’s Tale Summary in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Physician narrates the story of a wealthy knight, Virginius, who has a daughter so beautiful that, it is said, not even Pygmalian could create a one like her. Being so beautiful she is so virtuous that ignores the event that might lead her to compromise her chastity.

Once she was walking towards a temple with her mother and was noticed by the judge who governs the town. The judge decides to make her his by any means and has devil corrupt his heart. He hires a churl, Claudius, to help him make his plan a success.

Appius, the judge, has the false churl, Claudius, accuse Virginius of keeping a young woman captive, pretending her to be his daughter.

Virginius is called upon to the court but was not given any chance to speak in his defense by the judge. Virginius daughter, therefore, is called to be taken as the ward of the court.

Reaching home, he explains to his daughter that he has only two options: to die or be shamed. The daughter asks for some time to ponder over her death when, after a long speech,

Virginius decides to kill her. She falls back and when she wakes up she is ready to be dead. Virginius takes out the sword and cuts her head off.

Appius runs and hangs himself seeing the head but people come forward knowing of the plot and imprisons him. Claudius is also sentenced to be hanged upon a tree but Virginius interfere and has his sentence reduced to exile.

In the end, the narrator presents the message of the story saying sin is a sin even if it so private no one else can’t smell it.