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In Final Fantasy 16 (FFXVI), which has a medieval-ish setting, C says that "The boil must be lanced if it is to heal". I'm...not sure I understand the phrase.

For context, C is in a conversation about causing much temporary misery for people in the act of doing them an important service (think about how destroying oil rigs would hurt people's lives, but ultimately save the planet). I'm sure the phrase he used can be likened to "can't cook an omlette without breaking some eggs", or "the pain of childbirth is forgotten when one sees the face of their child".

That being said...I'm unsure of the literal meaning of the phrase. Is it talking about poking a pimple? Aren't you not supposed to do that? Also, does this expression have any precedence (e.g. it's a common phrase that's used), or is it something that the writers just made up?

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  • There are quite a few good examples of the metaphorical usage (though not as many as I expected) which are turned up in a Google search for "boil must be lanced", chausies. For the literal sense, 'lance' appears in dictionaries. Medical advice is that it should only be carried out by medical professionals. Other treatments are available, but seeking medical advice should not be discounted. Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 9:28

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Yes, it refers to pricking a boil (an infected swelling on the skin) with a surgeon's lancet. Nowadays it's usually recommended not to do so, but no doubt medical advice was different in the 'medieval-ish' setting you refer to.

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