The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Abbot in White Character Analysis

The Abbot in White is an English princess disguised as a man in Pampinea’s second tale (II, 3). She travels in disguise for her protection (demonstrating female vulnerability) because she plans to run away from her father to avoid a forced marriage (demonstrating the secondary status of women in a patriarchal medieval society). When she meets Alessandro, she falls in love with him and marries him secretly, thus demonstrating her own virtue and avoiding any charges of excessive or uncontrollable female sexuality. In elevating Alessandro’s social position, she is an agent of fortune, and she is also its beneficiary when she gets a young and handsome husband instead of an old man.
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Abbot in White Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Abbot in White appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 2: Third Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...Not far into his journey, he meets with a large group of travelers, including an Abbot in White and two knights whom he happens to know. They invite him to join their traveling... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
As they travel, the Abbot in White and Alessandro become friendly. The Abbot finds Alessandro to be the most handsome and agreeable... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...a room at the local inns, but the only space available to him is the Abbot in White ’s closet. Having overheard the innkeeper telling Alessandro to sleep in the closet, the Abbot... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Realizing that his beloved friend is a woman, Alessandro quickly embraces her. The Abbot in White stops him because she’s a virgin. She feels that fortune sent Alessandro to her, so... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
When the group arrives in Rome, the Abbot in White reveals herself to the Pope as the English King’s daughter. She was supposed to secure... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Alessandro is delighted to discover that the Abbot in White is a princess, but the two knights with whom they travelled are less pleased. The... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Alessandro and the former Abbot in White leave Rome and return to Florence, where the lady pays off his uncles’ debts and... (full context)