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A Summary of Boccaccio's The Decameron: Day 1, Story 10 & Conclusion

Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron quote: "...these days few if any women understand a single witty remark or, if they do understand, know how to reply to one-a source of universal shame for us all and for every woman alive today."
Storyteller: The Queen of Day 1, Pampinea

Few women these days understand wit, and if they do happen to understand, they do not know how to reply to a witty remark. They believe that the inability to converse with other women and gentlemen is a sign of a pure soul.

Master Alberto, a notable physician from Bologna, attended a feat one day. He happened to see a beautiful woman who he believed to be the widow Madonna Malgherida dei Ghisolieri. He instantly felt the pangs of love in his seventy year old heart. He began to go by this woman's house daily to catch a glimpse of her because he found it hard to sleep, if he was not able to see her. The lady and her friends knew why he passed by so often and they would make fun of him.
One day the ladies were all gathered together when they saw Master Alberto approaching. They invited him to join them and then asked as politely as they could why he had fallen in love with such a young and beautiful woman, especially since there are other more handsome, noble, and clever men seeking her hand.

The doctor replied that the fact that I am in love is not surprising to a person who is wise, especially the lady in question because she is very worthy of this love. Older men are more experienced and make better choices than younger men.

The women were ashamed of themselves. The lady told the doctor that she holds his love dear and he should feel free to ask her for anything he desires besides her honor.

The doctor got up and left, and the lady found herself as the one who lost out on something good. Learn from this woman's mistake.




Day 1 Conclusion

Pampinea handed over her rule to Filomena. Pampinea took off her laurel crown and placed it upon Filomena's head and then everyone hailed her as the new Queen.

Filomena spoke to the group: I believe that we should continue the routine set up by Pampinea until it becomes tedious. The only change I wish to make is to restrict the theme of tomorrow's stories. The theme shall be people who have undergone a series of misfortunes but then have a happy ending.

Everyone fell quiet and Dioneo asked Filomena: I ask to not be forced to stick with the prescribed theme of the day, but instead I wish to be allowed to tell any story that I choose. I also volunteer to go last.

The Queen granted him this request, because she knew that the only reason he asked, was so that he would be able to pick up everyone's spirits and make them laugh, after hearing so many stories on the same theme.
They ended the night with a song.

Sources

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella, Signet Classic, 1982.

Quote in Graphic at the top of the page can be found on page 64-5.


Published on July 28, 2014 by Sophia Brookshire © All Rights Reserved

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