De France; Decameron

1. In Decameron’s “The Tenth Story on the Tenth Day,” Griselda is being tested by her husband Marquis Gualtieri. He wants to test her faithfulness and dependability. She proves her sainthood ┬áby allowing her husband to push her out of her home and leave with nothing. She even does nothing when he tells her that he has killed their two children and taken a new wife. She proves to her husband that she is strong and humble and in the end is taken back by the husband.

2. Comparing the frame tails in the Decameron and The Thousand and One Nights, one sees two different reasons for which the tales are being told. Each story builds on another story. The Decameron tales were told by seven women and three men who flee to the hills above Florence to escape the Black Plague. They take turns telling each other stories about love, intelligence, and the human will. The theme of the tales is the struggle between life and death and the joy and despair of the human struggle to attain happiness and preserve life. Through the story telling, the share pleasure in the face of death. The importance of having these ten characters tell the stories is that during this time period women were held in a lower social standing than men. Using women to tell the stories, it proved that women can tolerate more adversity than men and are more lustful and more cunning. The author uses these stories to show women are the good vs the men that are evil. In “The Thousand and One Nights,” the purpose of the story teller being Schehererzade, King Shahryar’s wife is to save her own life by entertaining him for one thousand and one nights. Through the story telling death is warded off. Schehererzade convinces the King to not only not kill her but prevents him from killing any future wives. Her cunningness and strength is reflected and characterizes women during that period of time.

3. In Laustic, the nightingale symbolizes love and the dream to be free and live life the way she wants. When the husband kills the bird, this symbolizes that this love and the chance to be free will never happen. She then knows that is will never happen and that the chance to live the way she wants has no likelihood. Also, when her husband kills the bird it puts an end to the knight’s dream too and he must accept it that it will never happen.

One thought on “De France; Decameron

  1. bdfleagle

    Interesting take on Question #2. I don’t necessarily agree with you though. I think the point of the Decameron is to scare society straight, in particular women, from whatever “loose” behavior has cropped up during the plague years. I think this for two reasons, …well, three. One, in the Norton intro, it says that. But also, Pampinea’s remarks indicate that this is occurring in society as the plague is breaking down social norms. Three, I don’t see any connection between the tale teller, being a woman and say, the first story about Ser Cepperrello. Perhaps I’m wrong about it, but that’s my take.

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