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Boccaccio: The Decameron

Free «Boccaccio: The Decameron» Essay Sample

Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is a sharp societal writing that showed the thoughts and subject matter of the new establishment. Boccaccio was born in 1313. He was an Italian writer and intellectual. His accounts of the terror, alarm, catastrophes, and dreadfulness, brought by the Black Death plague. Giovanni lived in an era of changes. According to the narrator, the plague had caused many deaths. “Such fear was struck into the minds of many that brother deserted brother, and very frequently the wife did the same to her husband. What is still bad and almost unbelievable is that fathers and mothers neglected their children” (Slavicek 2008).

Black Death was a serious widespread disease. The epidemic was thought to have come from contaminated fleas that lived on rats. Once it contaminated the blood, it caused immediate death within a matter of time. This disease was quickly killing everything, while there were assumptions as how the disease spread. There was no treatment and no one was safe and sound. “It might have been caused by the pressure of outer space bodies or by God’s anger”, – Boccaccio wrote. Doctors had no idea what to do with the swellings and black spots that killed its victims. Worse still, the populace turned on each other. Parents deserted children; husbands turned their backs on their families. The streets were filled with dead bodies, and neighbors learned of a death next door by the stench (Slavicek 2008).

The lifeless bodies were treated by their neighbors, who were embarraced not less by terror and that the tarnished bodies would contaminate them, or by any compassion they experienced to the dead. They would pull the dead bodies out of their dwellings leave them in front of their doors. These dead bodies were not honored with moans or companions. The living did not have time to grieve; Boccaccio stated that owing to the great number of dead and the terror of their existence. The community, going through the rise of Black Death in that point in time, had a reason to be anxious and panicky. This panic thus grounds the reaction that Boccaccio talks about in his Decameron.

Boccaccio begins his passage, being thoughtful of women’s thoughts on misfortune of the Black Death. He wanted to put a conclusion to their unhappiness and the memories of groaning and lamenting. The plague fundamentally brought about the conclusion of the medieval manorial agreement that joined serfs to the land. The need for workers made them costly and facilitated the earlier serfs to get rights they never had in populated areas. The indicators of the Black Death were shocking: swellings covered the body. An outsized neck tumor may have permanently cocked an individual’s head the opposite way. The ailing reeked as they were going to die. Appalling breath and stench showed they were decomposing from inside. (Spielvogel 2011)

Since the origin of the Black Death was not stated at that time, many thought that the infection was a God’s punishment. This conviction made many people wander all around, thrashing themselves in public penance hoping to lessen the fury of God. Even though, not accepted by the church, the people showed helped in bringing catharsis to people. The nuns and high priests were caught in tricky circumstances, dishonest clergy sold chances to see sacred objects, and of spouses deceitful on each other illustrates the altering principles of the time. Dishonesty was widespread in the church and in the lives of European population. Things dejected to the height that people were predisposed like a lifeless goat. Thus, it was apparent that what the intelligent had in no way learned to endure with persistence, if compared to the normal course of things. It struck less radically and less frequently, grew to be an affair of unresponsiveness even to the simple appreciation of the sheer extent of this disaster. There was not enough land for burials of the huge amount of corpses that increased each day. People dug enormous and deep ditches then filled them with dead bodies almost to the top, then covered it with soil.

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The Decameron talks against this dishonesty and reveals the worldly outlook of existing as contentedly as probable downgrading the principals of Christian morals that had fainted daily life in the instance subsequent to the disease. Decameron offers harmony in theoretical view. All the way through run the widespread medieval subject matter of luck and how fast one can climb and go down through the outside pressures. Boccaccio had been educated by Dante’s Heavenly Comedy, which utilized a variety of stages of symbol to illustrate the relations amid the factual events of the narratives and the Christian message. Whereas these characters and standards may seem palpable to the contemporary reader, they were an up-and-coming aspect with the mount of causalities away from the conventional, rural feudal, structures which assigned superior worth on devoutness and devotion.


The information written above is reliable because it is the first hand experience of the writer, Giovanni. Giovanni lived in that specific ere of time and that is why he gives his  accounts of the terror, alarm, catastrophes, and dreadfulness, brought by the Black Death plague.

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