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The Doctor (Canterbury Tales)

Description and explanation of the Doctor from the prologue of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
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on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of The Doctor (Canterbury Tales)

The Doctor Appearance "In blood-red garments, slashed with bluish-gray, and lined with taffeta, he rode his way."
(Chaucer 108) Personality & Ethics profits from the misfortune of others
concerned with money
not very spiritual, lacking in morality, otherwise well-educated Relation to Other Characters Perceived well by other characters
successful
knowledgeable Class and Estate Well-off, concerned with appearance "In his diet he observed some measure; There were no superfluities for pleasure, only digestives, nutritives, and such."
(Chaucer 108) Reasonably fit and healthy, moderate weight "He did not read the Bible very much."
(Chaucer 108) "Yet he was rather close as to expenses and kept the gold he won in pestilences. Gold stimulates the heart, or so we're told. He therefore had a special love of gold."
(Chaucer 108) "All his apothecaries in a tribe were ready with the drugs he would prescribe, and each made money from the others guile; they had been friendly for a goodish while."
(Chaucer 108) "No one alive could talk as well as he did on points of medicine and of surgery."
(Chaucer 108) "The cause of every malady you'd got he knew...he was a perfect practicing physician."
(Chaucer 108) "He was well versed in Aesculapius too, and what Hippocrates and Rufus knew, and Dioscorides, now dead and gone, Galen and Rhazes, Hali, Serapion, Averroes, Avicenna, Constantine, Scotch Bernard, John of Gaddesden, Gilbertine."
(Chaucer 108) Member of emerging urban middle class
professionals, intellectuals, merchants and craftsmen Third Estate (neither nobleman nor cleric) Chaucer's Feelings Greedy, self-seeking
Hypocritical (evident in his tale)
Is he as good as everyone says? "No one alive could talk as well as he did on points of medicine and of surgery, for, being grounded in astronomy, he watched his patient's favorable star, and, by his Natural Magic, knew what are the lucky hours and planetary degrees for making charms and magic effigies. The cause of every malady you'd got he knew whether dry, cold, moist, or hot;
(Chaucer 108) Physician's Tale -Knight (Virginius) with daughter (Virginia)
-Apius (Judge) wants her for himself, conspires with Claudius
- Apius declares that Virginia is a servant held against her will, becomes ward of the court
-Virginius goes home to his daughter, tells her he will kill her to save her from dishonor
-Apius is killed by an angry mob, Claudius is saved due to Virginius's intercession
-"Forsake sin before sin forsakes you" Comparisons drawn with the Cleric (Delahoyde 1)
Respectful of the Knight "In blood-red garments, slashed with bluish-gray, and lined with taffeta, he rode his way."
(Chaucer 108) "He was a perfect practicing physician."
(Chaucer 108) (Murphy 4) (Woodcuts of the Ellesmere Portraits 1) "He was well versed in Aesculapius too, and what Hippocrates and Rufus knew, and Dioscorides, now dead and gone, Galen and Rhazes, Hali, Serapion, Averroes, Avicenna, Constantine, Scotch Bernard, John of Gaddesden, Gilbertine."
(Chaucer 108)
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