Pilgrim’s Prize (Pt.14): The Physician’s Tale (Chaucer Journal)
Sinners beware, you’re in for a scare!
Kind of… enter Virginius, a wealthy man who had a beautiful daughter whose attractive looks would make any a (heterosexual) man tremble with lust. One day, while accompanying her mother to town, the local judge, a creep by the name of Apius, fell hard for this girl. Luckily for Apius, Satan happened to be nearby and invented a scheme. I won’t repeat this scheme since it is lackluster, even for horny heteros, but the crux of the story is that Virginia dies to protect her honor while Apius gets run out of town. The end.
I feel that “like” is too strong a word for this tale though I will say that I enjoyed watching the lusty perverts of power get their just desserts. Honestly, though, you figure people would learn to be a bit weary of Satan, considering his bad rap. In any case, the story accomplishes its morality tale well, though when considering Chaucer, this is not to be much of a surprise.
Moving on to the modern tale-teller associated with Pilgrim Literary, though.
Cas Husseini decides to cast this tale in the form of a petition letter to the local police. They implore the police to open an investigation case into “Ginny” (our Virginia) and her disappearance. Framing the death of Virginia as an honor killing in a secretive Christian sect, Husseini aptly combines topical controversies—the mass-hysteria associated with honor killings by a minority of Muslim immigrants—with literary translations (time period, wise). Husseini even goes as far as to create a petition on Change[dot]com. This petition merely reproduces the tale on Pilgrim Literary, but it is a nice added touch which most people wouldn’t have gone through the trouble to add.
Creatively, Husseini’s adaptation of The Physician’s Tale shows remarkable aptness. I never would have thought of reinventing this tale along lines of a cult or fringe denomination’s misogynistic practices, but it works very well regardless. Reiterating the narrative merely as an appeal for help was a risky move but it pays off; let’s be honest, after all, Chaucer’s morality tale is nothing more than perverted religious ideas playing out in the impressionable mind of a youth under pressure.
I warmly give this adaptation an 8/10.
Cover Image Artist: https://pandaraven711.deviantart.com/art/Canterbury-Tales-The-Physician-106726086