Analysis Of ' The ' Of The Decameron '

1761 Words Oct 2nd, 2014 8 Pages
HIS 538 History and Literature in Renaissance Italy
Liberty and Gender in Boccaccio
Justin Chmiel
October 2, 2014

In his tales of the Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio created a comedic image of early Renaissance urban life. It would be easy to dismiss these tales entirely from the historical record, but, even though they may be fiction, these tales were fabricated from the world that Boccaccio knew. If the author drew the details of his stories from the reality around him, should it not be possible to use these details to reconstruct an image of Boccaccio’s world? This is especially useful in discerning the role of people who are systematically excluded from positions of authority which give their words and actions a greater likelihood of being preserved for historical record.
Perhaps one of the most striking details of the Decameron are the women that are (often at the same time) victims and heroines of Boccaccio’s tales. These women showed resourcefulness and courage, but these virtues were necessary for the woman of the Italian Renaissance who was largely a prisoner in a man’s world. Far from presenting the Renaissance women as powerless and passive, a historical analysis of Boccaccio shows that a smart, strong-willed woman was not altogether unfamiliar to him or his readers. Based on this image, it is possible to argue that although the Renaissance was a time dominated by men, the women were not without influence.
The stated purpose of Boccaccio’s collection of tales was…
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