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Homework Help: Canterbury Tales Theme Question

Posted by Allyson on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 7:48am.

So this is the summary of my tale I have to do for a project, and I had a question about it.

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The Canterbury TalesOriginal study guide for literatureBuy Book (US $5.99)Buy PDF (US $3.99)The Canterbury Tales

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Summary and Analysis

The Physician's Tale
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Virginius, a knight, has only one child, Virginia, whose beauty is beyond compare and who is endowed with all the other noble virtues. One morning, in town, a judge named Apius (or Appius) catches sight of the daughter, is smitten by her beauty and purity, and determines to have her at any cost. He sends for the town's most disreputable blackguard, Claudius, and pays him to take part in a scheme to capture the girl.

In court before Judge Appius, Claudius falsely accuses Virginius of having stolen a servant girl (Virginia) from his house many years ago and keeping her all these years, pretending that she is his daughter. Before Virginius can defend himself, the evil judge orders that the young girl be brought immediately to the court. Virginius returns home and calls his daughter into his presence. She must, he says, accept either death or shame at the hands of Claudius and Apius. Virginia tells her father: "Blessed be God that I shall die a Maid (virgin), / I take my death rather than take my shame. / So do your will upon me ("Blissed be God, that I shal dye a mayde! / Yif me my deeth, er that I have a shame; / Do with youre child youre wyl"). Then she faints, and her father "smote off her head." Virginius returns to the judge and hands him Virginia's head. The judge orders the knight hanged for murder, but a throng of citizens, aroused by the Apius' treachery, imprisons the judge. Claudius is to be hanged, but the knight pleads mercy and suggests exile instead.

The Physician concludes his tale with the moral that "the wages of sin is Death" and let everyone forsake his sins.

What are some themes that are of the story? I'm having a hard time connecting it to anything for my presentation..

Thank you

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