Comparison of the doctor and the shipman

The Doctor of physic and the shipman appear as two completely different people, at first that is. Until one looks at the actual subtleties we don’t see what the have in common. Chaucer describes them one after the other aiding an comparison and so we do. The shipman is a rough and ready man. This is show in his clothing was made of falding. This is an physical representation of his roughness. His dagger is at his side as if ready to use at any moment. He has a tanned face which shows how much he is travelled. He is also a clumsy rider which shows he spends a lot of time at sea and is not accustomed to the land. ‘he rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe’ is where he shows this.

Yet he is a very experienced sailor and Chaucer admires him for this. Chaucer says ‘ther nas noon swich from hulle to cartage’. Chaucer despite this also conveys a sense of immorality and lack of feelings for his prisoners Chaucer tells us he makes them walk the plank. He does this by using one of his favourite ambiguous words ‘conscience’ he steals and kills without any thought or guilt. Chaucer shows mock approval of the shipman. Chaucer calls him a ‘good felawe’. Felawe is ambiguous and it is probably used in the form or rascal not good companion. The world felawe shows him to be a rouge.

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The Doctor of physic is said to be very skilled at his job. Chaucer lists the medical authorities similar to how he did the knights battles. Chaucer also tells us about his knowledge of astrology and the humours. This shows him to be a good man and one who does his job on a similar level as the knight. Yet the second half shows increasingly that he is not all he seams. The Doctor has an agreement with the apothecaries where by the both gain money from the matter.

This deal seams very dubious. The man is also very selfish: he looks after himself above anyone else. He buys very expensive clothes but in many other ways he seams to be a miser. He made money from the plague. That tells us a lot about his character. Chaucers most damming comment is that he hardly read the bible, and so clearly shows a complete lack or Christian morals. It shows him not to have any sense of charity at all. Chaucer also makes on of his trademark ironic comments. He says that he is ‘a very parfait practisour’ This is clearly the complete opposite of the knight.

So as it can be seen that shipman instantly comes over as a rebel or rouge, and later we are told of his skills. It is the other way round for the doctor first Chaucer lists his skills and then his faults. Both the shipman and the doctor are excellent at there jobs and Chaucer admires this in both of them. Also on the other hand Chaucer looks in disgust at the other parts of there personality he show them to be immoral and selfish.

Both unworthy of any respect. The shipman is rough and ready, but the doctor is outwardly sophisticated two completely different people one spends his time out a sea, capturing prisoners killing them and the other the Doctor is spending his time on land helping people, Saving lives. Both characters are very good at there jobs but neither deserve any admiration simply because of there other immoral habits.

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