The Decameron Study Guide

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The Decameron


1) Love, Fortune, Ingenuity

These three forces are at work throughout the entire book. Love is closely alligned with desire or the natural, while Ingenuity is the work of men. Often there is a struggle between these two forces in each story. The representation of Fortune in the text is very close to that of Chance. Fortune comes along an messes everything up. It can never be predicted and it can conveniently explain anything unfortunate. Fortune always makes the stories more unpredictable. The battle between Love and Ingenuity can also be looked at from the perspective of Nature verse Society.

2) The Catholic Clergy and Women

Boccaccio is very critical of the present Catholic Clergy and Dogma. He is very careful not to show preference for one religion over another. Furthermore he even includes stories that are critical of catholicism. His social attitude towards Women even reflects his ideas. During the time period the church still suported Eve’s sin and women’s general wickedness. He clearly does not follow that ideology

3) Boccaccio vs. Dante

Boccaccio had read Dante’s work and considered Dante as one of his role models. Throughout the book it is important to look for connections between the two works, as Boccaccio always has Dante’s work in mind.

DioneomaleA lover, who loves to please women
EmiliafemaleShe first only writes of nobles and then includes peasents and clergy members Fiammettafemalenarcissist
Filomenafemalevery assertive- cleaver stories
Filostratomaletales of sex
Laurettafemalename means justice ad stories are filled with it Neifilefemaleassertive and favors authority
Pampineafemaleoldest and wisest woman- her idea to come to the countryside- queen for first day Panfilomalelover of all


Introduces the theme of pity and the necessity of it in the time of the plague. “To take...
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