1. The Tenth Story of the Tenth Day: Why is Griselda being tested?
I think that in a sense, Griselda is initially being tested because of Gualtieri’s boredom, although this is later transformed into a sort of more complex set of Job-like events that prove her character over time. Before the more extreme fake child killings and so forth, Bocciaccio writes, “…Gualtieri was seized with the strange desire to test Griselda’s patience, by subjecting her to constant provocation and making her life unbearable.”. He starts out with a little verbal abuse before moving on to the torturous acts of taking her babies away. Bocciaccio’s motives for this probably had something to do with claims that these stories were lessons for female readers to learn, that these men and women, but mostly women, who took refuge from disease wanted to convey in their stories for women to learn from for their own safety and well being.
2. Compare the frame tales in the Decameron, and The Thousand and One Nights. In each case, what is the reason for telling stories? Do the stories accomplish the purpose for which they are intended? How important is the relationship between the tale and the teller?
Shahrizad has a much more noble purpose in her story telling than the narrator of the Decameron in my opinion. She is telling her stories to teach a murderer compassion and forgiveness while simultaneously saving lives, literally. With each night of teaching lessons and telling stories she is preserving her own life and the life of another woman. That’s sisterhood. Shari’a does accomplish her purpose, both within the frame tale and in terms of the stories preserved in The Thousand and One Nights. I think that Bocciaccio via his narrators is less successful simply because Shahrizad’s purpose was so noble. The seven women and three men who make up the tellers of The Decameron are portraying lessons and also telling jokes, providing an account of life in that part of the world at that time. The stories there serve that purpose. I think the relationship between the tale and tale teller is as important as the piece and the writer because it holds a lot of information about motive, whether economic or social or religious.
3. In Laustic, what does the nightingale symbolize? Explain your answer.
I think that the nightingale symbolizes the tragedy of love lost, or perhaps grief. It seems that this would be a question with many answers, all true in their own way. The nightingale serves as a way to communicate a break up, and then the receiver of this information treats it as a keepsake. The fact that he puts this bird in a tiny coffin which he then carries with him could be seen as both a constant reminder of his love for her, or a constant reminder of his grief that the relationship never got a fair chance and had to end. Either way I think this is a symbol for emotions we all have regarding past love and loss.
I found it very interesting that you linked the purpose of testing Griselda to be boredom. I did not see this link initially, but I did not that he had no intent to marry prior to this engagement and Gualtieri was a man of living in the moment, with no real desire to settle down. This character of Gualtieri would give some support to your claim because a man who lives in the moment must have something to occupy his mind and time, thus… the testing begins. Good summary overall and I agree that the stories of Sharizad are much more noble in purpose and provide better lessons.
I liked your answer to the first question as well as the third. Though I would state that the purpose of the stories in the Sharizad were to both distract the king as well as teach him subconsciously through the stories about the atrocities he was committing, while the stories in the Decameron were more for just the escape of a painful existence in my opinion. Overall this is an excellent post.
You make a nice point on how the tale in question 1 was considered at the time it was written.