Analysis of Giovanni Boccaccio's 'The Decameron'

670 Words Feb 5th, 2018 3 Pages
The Decameron is set during the plague in Italy, and at the beginning of the story, various people have fled the city and are hiding away in the countryside. They tell tales to pass the time and to amuse themselves and these tales make up The Decameron. The conceit is very similar to that of The Canterbury Tales, although unlike Chaucer, Boccaccio was able to finish his work, and the tales are much more extensive in number and somewhat shorter.
One striking aspect of the work is the degree to which the tales exhibit feminist themes. Boccaccio addresses his reader as "dearest ladies," and most of the narrators are women. Many of the tales are of women triumphing over men, such as the story of Gillette of Narbonne (3.9). In this story, the Comte de Roussillon's life is saved by Gillette, the daughter of a great physician. Gillette is in love with the Comte's son Bertrand. Comte compels his son to marry Gillette as a result of a promise he made to her for her services. Bertrand is unhappy with the match, flees from his new wife's presence, and vows that he will never live with her until she has the ring he wears on his finger and has begotten a son by him. Gillette cleverly orchestrates a trick whereby she secretly takes the place of a servant girl whom Bertrand is enamored with, bears…