A Tale from the Decameron (1916) by John William Waterhouse.Each of the ten characters is charged as King or Queen of the company for one of the ten days in turn. This charge extends to choosing the theme of the stories for that day, and all but two days have topics assigned: examples of the power of fortune; examples of the power of human will; love tales that end tragically; love tales that end happily; clever replies that save the speaker; tricks that women play on men; tricks that people play on each other in general; examples of virtue. Only Dioneo, who usually tells the tenth tale each day, has the right to tell a tale on any topic he wishes, due to his wit. Many authors have argued that Dioneo expresses the views of Boccaccio himself. Each day also includes a short introduction and conclusion to continue the frame of the tales by describing other daily activities besides story-telling. These frame tale interludes frequently include transcriptions of Italian folk songs. The interactions among tales in a day, or across days, as Boccaccio spins variations and reversals of previous material, forms a whole and not just a collection of stories. The basic plots of the stories including mocking the lust and greed of the clergy; tensions in Italian society between the new wealthy commercial class and noble families; the perils and adventures of traveling merchants.
About the writer: Giovanni Boccaccio (Italian pronunciation 1313 – 21 December 1375 was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist and the author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular. Boccaccio is particularly notable for his dialogue, of which it has been said that it surpasses in verisimilitude that of virtually all of his contemporaries, since they were medieval writers and often followed formulaic models for character and plot.
About the Story:In Italy during the time of the Black Death, a group of seven young women and three young men flee from plague-ridden Florence to a villa, where no one lives, in the countryside of Fiesole for two weeks. To pass the evenings, every member of the party tells a story each night, except for one day per week for chores, and the holy days in which they do no work at all, resulting in ten nights of storytelling over the course of two weeks. Thus, by the end of the fortnight they have told 30 stories.
About the work: The Decameron, also called Prince Galehaut (Italian: Il Decameron, cognominato Prencipe Galeotto) is a 14th-century medieval allegory by Giovanni Boccaccio, told as a frame story encompassing 30 tales by ten young people. Boccaccio probably began composing the work in 1330, and finished it in 1351 or 1353. The bawdy tales of love in The Decameron range from the erotic to the tragic. Tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons contribute to the mosaic. In addition to its literary import, it documents life in 14th-century Italy.