The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Dioneo Character Analysis

Dioneo is the third of the brigata’s men. His name links him with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and in allegorical readings of the book, he is associated with lust. He has singular charm and a quick wit and is the liveliest of the storytellers. After the first day, he always tells the last tale, and eight of his ten stories feature sexual hijinks. Two are quite pornographic and were frequently edited or cut from early translations and editions of The Decameron. He travels to the countryside with his valet, Parmeno, and when the brigata are entertaining themselves throughout the day, he is frequently in the company of Fiammetta, singing songs of famous lovers. He establishes the absolute divorce between the horrors of plague-ravaged Florence and the beautiful countryside by first declaring that he’s left all his troubles behind. He often accompanies the evening singing and dancing with his lute. He’s also charmingly self-deprecating, as when he declares that the king on a chessboard would do a better job of ruling the company than himself. He travels to the countryside with his servant Sirisco.

Dioneo Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Dioneo or refer to Dioneo. 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: Introduction Quotes

It is not our foresight, ladies, but rather your own good sense, that has led us to this spot. I know not what you intend to do with your troubles; my own I left inside the city gates when I departed thence a short while ago in your company. Hence you may either prepare to join with me in as much laugher, song, and merriment as your sense of decorum will allow, or else you may give me leave to go back for my troubles and live in the afflicted city.

Related Characters: Dioneo (speaker)
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 1: Fourth Tale Quotes

One day, about noon, when all the other monks were asleep, he chanced to be taking a solitary stroll round the walls of the monastery, which lay in a very lonely spot, when his eyes came to rest on a strikingly beautiful girl, perhaps some local farmhand’s daughter, who was going about the fields collecting wild herbs. No sooner did he see her than he was fiercely assaulted by carnal desire.

Related Characters: Dioneo (speaker), Young Monk, The Country Girl, Tuscan Abbot
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

The girl, who was not exactly made of iron or of flint, fell in very readily with the Abbot’s wishes. He took her in his arms and kissed her a few times, then lowered himself on to the monk’s little bed. But out of regard, perhaps, for the weight of his reverend person and the tender age of the girl, and not wishing to do her any injury, he settled down beneath her instead of lying on top, and in this way he sported with her at considerable length.

Related Characters: Dioneo (speaker), Tuscan Abbot, The Country Girl, Young Monk
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 5: Tenth Tale Quotes

And since, as on previous occasions, the task I am about to perform has no other object than to dispel your melancholy, enamoured ladies, and provide you with laughter and merriment, I shall tell you the ensuing tale, for it may well afford enjoyment although its subject matter is not entirely seemly. As you listen, do as you would when you enter a garden, and stretch forth your tender hands to pluck the roses, leaving the thorns where they are. This you will succeed in doing if you leave the knavish husband to his ill desserts and his inequities, whilst you laugh gaily at the amorous intrigues of his wife, pausing where occasion warrants, to commiserate with the woes of her lover.

Related Characters: Dioneo (speaker)
Related Symbols: Gardens
Page Number: 432-433
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 8: Tenth Tale Quotes

In the seaports of all maritime countries, it used to be the practice, and possibly still is, that any merchant arriving there with merchandise, having discharged his cargo, takes it to a warehouse, which in many places is called the dogana and is maintained by the commune or by the ruler of the state. After presenting a written description of the cargo and its value to the officers in charge, he is given a storeroom where his merchandise is placed under lock and key. The officers then record all the details in their register under the merchant’s name, and whenever the merchant removes his goods from bond, either wholly or in part, they make him pay the appropriate dues. It is by consulting this register that brokers, more often than not, obtain their information about the amount and value of the goods stored at the dogana

Related Characters: Dioneo (speaker)
Page Number: 632-633
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dioneo Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Dioneo appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 1: Introduction
Men and Women Theme Icon
...up. Elissa agrees, wondering where they can find the right men. Meanwhile, Panfilo, Filostrato, and Dioneo enter the church looking for their lady-loves (who are among the company) because even the... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
...courtyards, gardens, meadows, and wells of cool water. It’s well-stocked, clean, and decked with flowers. Dioneo declares that he’s left his troubles behind in Florence, and Pampinea suggests a system to... (full context)
Day 1: Fourth Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
As soon as Filomena finishes, Dioneo pipes up. Because the point of telling stories is to give each other pleasure, he... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Dioneo’s tale takes place in a Tuscan monastery where a Young Monk goes for a country... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...been caught in the act, the Abbot pardons the monk, swearing him to secrecy. And, Dioneo adds, they probably bring the Country Girl back on a regular basis. (full context)
Day 1: Fifth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Listening to Dioneo, the ladies were embarrassed and amused. When he finishes, they gently rebuke him for the... (full context)
Day 1: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...who after suffering a series of misfortunes are brought to an unexpected state of happiness.” Dioneo asks that an exception be made so that he can tell his stories on any... (full context)
Day 2: Ninth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
It’s now Filomena’s turn, since Dioneo has permission to tell the day’s last tale. She recalls a proverb which says that... (full context)
Day 2: Tenth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Everyone praises Filomena’s tale, especially Dioneo, who nevertheless contends that it’s foolish to think that women will forego sex, which his... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...death, Paganino and Bartolomea marry and labor daily, regardless of holidays. Based on this example, Dioneo concludes, Bernabò’s faith in his wife may have been rewarded, but he was taking a... (full context)
Day 2: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Everyone laughs until their sides ache. They agree with Dioneo that Bernabò was foolish to trust his wife. Once the laughter dies down, Filomena crowns... (full context)
Day 3: Ninth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Neifile’s turn comes next, since Dioneo has the privilege of going last. Protesting how hard it will be to follow up... (full context)
Day 3: Tenth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Dioneo, noting that love’s urgings can be felt in the rugged wilderness as much as in... (full context)
Day 3: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Dioneo’s tale makes everyone shake with laughter. Neifile places the crown on Filostrato’s head, joking that... (full context)
Day 4: Tenth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Dioneo expresses relief that the terrible stories of star-crossed lovers have finally come to an end,... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Like Ricciardo di Chinzica (from Dioneo’s story on the second day), who used a calendar of saint’s days to keep from... (full context)
Day 4: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Dioneo’s merry story dispels the day’s melancholy. As the sun sets, Filostrato apologizes handsomely for picking... (full context)
Day 5: Tenth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Dioneo prefaces his tale with a warning. People are more likely to laugh at scandal than... (full context)
Day 5: Conclusion
Intelligence Theme Icon
With Dioneo’s story at an end, Fiammetta crowns Elissa as the next day’s sovereign. She decrees that... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
After dinner, as Emilia begins to dance, Elissa asks Dioneo to sing. He tries a bunch of bawdy songs, which are all rejected by the... (full context)
Day 6: Introduction
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...and fields, talking about previous days’ tales. After breakfast, some nap, others play games, and Dioneo and Lauretta sing about Troilus and Criseyde. As they gather for the day’s stories, a... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Elissa can’t silence Liscia during this speech, but when it ends, she asks Dioneo to pronounce a verdict. He agrees with Liscia. Elissa must command her to hold her... (full context)
Day 6: Ninth Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Leaving Dioneo the final tale, Elissa begins next, recalling Florence’s glorious past, when people displayed their generosity... (full context)
Day 6: Tenth Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Dioneo declares his intention to tell a story on the day’s theme, about how a friar... (full context)
Day 6: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
As the laughter over Friar Cipolla’s relics dies down, Elissa places the crown on Dioneo’s head. Claiming that the kings on a chessboard are worthier than he is, he promises... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...they exit the water, dress, and return to the men, Pampinea describes the Valley to Dioneo, Panfilo, and Filostrato. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
After supper, Dioneo, Panfilo, and Filostrato travel to see the Valley of the Ladies for themselves. They return... (full context)
Day 7: Tenth Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
It would seem natural for Dioneo to tell a tale about a wife’s trick on her husband, since he picked the... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...at his stupidity for avoiding the mothers of his own godchildren in the past. And, Dioneo declares, if Friar Rinaldo only knew this much, he wouldn’t have had to work so... (full context)
Day 7: Conclusion
Men and Women Theme Icon
As the day’s stories end and the sun sets, Dioneo places the crown on Lauretta’s head. She wants to hear more stories about the tricks... (full context)
Day 8: Tenth Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Dioneo’s tale diverges from Lauretta’s by telling about a cunning revenge taken on a cunning, not... (full context)
Day 9: Tenth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Dioneo begins his tale with an excuse for his off-color stories. Just as a black crow... (full context)
Day 9: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
How the ladies took Dioneo’s tale—which they perfectly understood—may be gauged by how much readers are laughing at it now.... (full context)
Day 10: Tenth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Dioneo, noting that Adalieta’s almost-second husband wouldn’t agree with the company’s praise of Torello, prepares to... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
There’s nothing else for Dioneo to say, except that sometimes “celestial spirits” inhabit the poor, while the most royal men... (full context)
Day 10: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
The company discusses Dioneo’s tale until sunset. Panfilo, noting that wisdom includes remembering the past, understanding the present, and... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Dioneo quips that if Fiammetta would name her lover, she’d prevent anyone taking him by accident.... (full context)