Discussion Questions 9 — De France; Decameron
1. The Tenth Story of the Tenth Day: Why is Griselda being tested?
The King in the story had so much money and land but God forbid he dies and has no successor to carry on his legacy. His people pushed him to find a wife and have children, so he did. He found Griselda. Griselda was the type of woman to love her husband no matter what, bowed to him and cherished him. He picked her because of these traits and these were the traits that would allow him to continue his bachelor life style that he loved so much. But he was not happy that he had found someone like this, he wanted to test her traits and make sure that no matter events that would occur she would remain faithful to him.
He tested her as a mother, saying that he was going to murder their two children. She still loved him, while myself on the other hand and I am sure many of you would have maybe even killed or turned him in before he could say he was just joking. Then he brought the children back claiming their daughter would be his new wife and he would get rid of Griselda. But even still, she stayed. Which I guess turned out okay for her in the end because she got his love, their children back and kept her place as queen. But still, I can’t help but imagine how much heartache she would have felt.
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?
Firstly, I think that the tales in both cases were significant for hope. It was giving hope to both fate’s rather it be caused by a person, the King, or death by a disease, the Black Plague. Shahrazad told stories to the husband, Shahryar to stop him from killing the women in the village simply because he wanted to have his cake and eat it too…sexual relations and then his trust issues led him to kill what may have been a totally trustworthy woman everytime. So she told him stories to not only save her life, but give the other women a chance to live and restore hope in the king towards women. The stories in the Decameron were also told to give hope while people were dying left and right from the Plague. It was an occupier to get minds off of what was happening just like the king being occupied by stories from his new wife. The relationship between the tale and the teller was to carry on their legacy and morals. They were teaching lessons. Other than that, I personally see no relationship.
3. In Laustic, what does the nightingale symbolize? Explain your answer.
The nightingale symbolized love, lies and hopelessness. The wife told her husband she could not sleep because she loved the nightingales song so much she could not sleep. In reality, she was staring at their neighbor, both very deep in love. The husband killed, beheaded the nightingale and it was then they both knew that they could never be. The knight placed the bird in a casket made of gold. For the knight, it symbolized something that he can have forever of a love that he could never have. The nightingale for her, she wasn’t lying to her husband when she said she loved the nightingale’s song, a song that was the story of a love she could never have.
For number three-did you get the sense that these knights were best friends? I did not get the impression that the two men were friends but only neighbors. Anyway, after reading post I think the nightingale changes symbols in the story perhaps. Maybe in represents love until it is killed, and then represents grief.
First of all, I completely agree that Gualtieri would have been murdered in modern times for the way he acts in the story. I do not believe that any woman would have such a lowly sense of self-respect to stand for this kind of action. Thank goodness for change… You mentioned that he chose her because she would put up with the bachelor style of life, but I did not take that from the reading because it seemed that he chose her completely on the basis of looks and verbal devotion. If he continued to act like a single man, after the marriage, I too would have seen taken that into account. Since Gualtieri put so much effort into testing Griselda, I found that maybe he had some serious trust issues and that is why he would have never considered taking a relationship seriously prior to the confrontation of his servants. It could go either way, so thank you for another point of view!
Yes! Thank goodness for progress. I thought it was interesting that this post and your comment talked about Gualtieri as a flawed but human and relatable man. Because of the language and the outlandish circumstances, I had trouble not viewing him as a symbol, a stand in for men. Thank you both for analyzing it on a different level that helped me understand the story.