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Summary of Boccaccio's "The Decameron: Day 2, Story 10"

Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron quote: "Lovely ladies, one part of the story told by our Queen has made me change my mind about a story I was going to tell and moves me to tell another, and that is the part which concerns Bernabo's stupidity (in spite of the fact that all ended well for him) and the stupidity of all those other men who allow themselves to think as he did; that is, that while they travel all over the world taking their pleasure first with one woman and then with another, they think that the ladies they have left at home are twiddling their thumbs, as if we who are born from them, grow up among them, and stay around them did not know what they are most fond of doing."
Storyteller: Dioneo

This story wasn't the one that one that he initially wanted to tell, but he was inspired by the previous story, so he decided to tell a spin-off of that story.

In Pisa, there was a judge by the name of Messer Riccardo di Chinzica. He had a head for knowledge, but a weak body. He wished to marry a young and beautiful woman. He found the most beautiful woman in Pisa; she was the daughter of Messer Lotto Gualandi. Messer Riccardo and Bartolomea had a beautifully lavish wedding. That night he was barely able to make love to his new bride on account of his weak body. The next day he had to take many restorative confections in order to regain his strength. He had overestimated his physical abilities in the love making department, so he devised a plan to minimize his husbandly duty. He created a calendar for his new bride that had all of the holidays, feasts, and other important days; he told her that on these days they couldn't make love out of respect for whatever important occasion it was. They ended up only making love about once a month much to her disappointment. He kept an eye on her, and made sure that no one informed her that this arrangement was uncommon.

One hot day, he decided to put together a fishing party. On one boat were the fishermen and on the other boat were the ladies. A galley commanded by Paganin da Mare, a famous pirate, appeared out of nowhere. Paganin saw Bartolomea and desperately wanted her, so he took her and sailed away. Messer Riccardo was very distraught. Paganin wanted to keep Bartolomea forever. At first, she wept inconsolably, but later when they made love she forgot all about her woes. They made love all the time; she forgot all about Messer Riccardo and his ridiculous calendar.

Messer Riccardo heard that his wife was in Monaco with Paganin, so he went there to rescue her. One day, while Bartolomea was out and she saw her husband. She hurried home and told Paganin. Messer Riccardo came to Paganin, who agreed to let Bartolomea go with her husband if she wanted to go. At first, Bartolomea pretended not to recognize her husband. He thought that she must have been pretending not to know him out of fear. He asked Paganin to let him talk to his wife in private. Bartolomea and her husband went into another room where she admitted that she knew who he was, but that she did not wish to go with him. Why would she want to go home with a man who rarely made love to her when she could stay where she was and get made love to several times a day? He begged her to go with him, but she told him that she would rather live in sin with Paganin and risk familial disgrace than go home with him.

Messer Riccardo gave up and went back to Pisa. He went insane. When anyone would ask him anything he would reply "the evil hole observes no holidays" (186). He died soon after that, and Paganin and Bartolomea married. They made love as much as they could for as long as their bodies allowed.




Day 2 Conclusion

Filomena gave her garland to Neifile, who was the next in line to be Queen. The next day was Friday, so there could be no story telling due to praying. Saturday was the day when women would wash their hair and fast, so there was no story telling that day either. Neifile decided that on Sunday they would leave their current dwelling for another one. She then announced that the subject of the stories to be told next were "stories about people who have attained something they desired through their ingenuity or who have recovered something they once lost" (188).

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 179.


Published on July 15, 2014 (updated on November 13, 2017) written by Sophia Brookshire © All Rights Reserved

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