The Decameron

The Decameron


Giovanni Boccaccio

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Abraham Character Analysis

Abraham appears in Neifile’s first tale (I, 2). He is friends with Jehannot de Chevigny As an extremely rich moneylender and a Jew, he represents commonly reviled categories in medieval Europe. But his wisdom and virtue earn him Christian friends and eventually lead him to convert despite the evident sinfulness of church leaders. In this way, he represents the medieval idea of the “virtuous pagan,” and his conversion is a means to prove the superiority of Christian theology to other religions.

Abraham Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Abraham or refer to Abraham. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Day 1: Second Tale Quotes

“[Nobody in Rome] who was connected with the Church seemed to me to display the slightest sign of holiness, piety, charity, moral rectitude, or any other virtue. On the contrary, it seemed to me that they were all so steeped in lust, greed, avarice, fraud, envy, pride, and other like sins and worse (if indeed that is possible), that I regard the place as a hotbed for diabolical rather than devotional activities. As far as I can judge, it seems to me that your pontiff, and all of the others too, are doing their level best to reduce the Christian religion to nought [sic] and drive it from the face of the earth, whereas they are the very people who should be its foundation and support.”

Related Characters: Abraham (speaker), Neifile, Jehannot de Chevigny
Page Number: 40-41
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Decameron PDF

Abraham Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Abraham appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 1: Second Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...tale concerns Jehannot de Chevigny, a Parisian merchant, and his friend, a Jewish moneylender called Abraham. Jehannot worries that upright and honest Abraham will be dammed for his incorrect religious beliefs.... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Since Jehannot knows that the clergy in fact lead wicked lives, he tries to dissuade Abraham. But Abraham insists, and when he arrives in Rome, he discovers that almost all church... (full context)
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Back at home, Jehannot asks Abraham what he found, and Abraham doesn’t hold back: he thought the papal court was a... (full context)