The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Johnson, Lynn Staley. "The Prince and His People: A Study of the Two Covenants in the Clerk's Tale." 10 (1975): 17-29.
Griselda's response to misfortune contrasts with the populace's response to trouble. Walter's people are weak and superficial, and they obey grudgingly. The people's response to Walter increases discord, while Griselda's promotes harmony. To have a healthy state, the people must obey and maintain the spiritual bond between themselves and the prince. As head of the metaphorical body-state, Walter symbolizes law and justice, not God. Walter's tests allow the demonstration of spiritual weakness or strength. The Envoy falsely praises the obedience occasioned by the old law, contrasting it to the love produced by the new law.
Mandel, Jerome H. "Governance in the Physician's Tale." 10 (1976): 316-25.
The Physician's Tale examines the question of the proper response to government corruption, and the relationships in the tale are those of rulership. The digression regarding governesses demonstrates Chaucer's concern with the honesty of those who govern. As the moral figure of the tale, Virginia is Appius's opposite. Virginius, however, decides Virginia's fate in nearly the same rash manner as Appius, and Chaucer's repeated mention of Virginius's friends who eventually come to his defense suggests that Virginia died needlessly. Virginius's prayer for Claudius at the end of the tale declares the love of God to be the model for living.