The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Emilia Character Analysis

Emilia is a member of the brigata, whose name means something like “the attractive one.” She is the sovereign on Day IX, where she gives her companions free reign to choose stories on topics of their choice. She is associated with feminine charm and humility; when Lauretta, crowning her, comments on her beauty, she blushes the color of roses.

Emilia Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Emilia or refer to Emilia. 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 3: Seventh Tale Quotes

Tedaldo began to reflect how fatally easy it was for people to cram their heads with totally erroneous notions. His thoughts turned first of all to his brothers, who had gone into mourning and buried some stranger in his own stead, after which they had been impelled by their false suspicions to accuse this innocent man and fabricate evidence so as to have him brought under sentence of death. This in turn led him to reflect upon the blind severity of the law and its administrators, who in order to convey the impression that they are zealously seeking the truth, often have recourse to cruelty and falsehood to be accepted as proven fact, hence demonstrating, for all their proud claim to be the ministers of God’s justice, that their true allegiance is to the devil and his iniquities.

Related Characters: Emilia (speaker), Tedaldo degli Elisei, Aldobrandino Palermi
Page Number: 239-240
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 8: Fourth Tale Quotes

“Heaven be praised!” said the Provost, who could scarce contain his joy. “To tell you the truth, madam, I am amazed that you should have held out for so long, seeing that this has never happened to me with any woman before. And in fact, I have sometimes had occasion to reflect, that if women were made of silver you couldn’t turn them into coins, as they bend too easily. But no more of this, when and where can we be together?”

Related Characters: Provost (speaker), Emilia, Piccarda
Page Number: 571
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 9: Ninth Tale Quotes

Lovable ladies, if the order of things is impartially considered, it will quickly be apparent that the vast majority of women are through Nature and custom, as well as in law, subservient to men, by whose opinions their conduct and actions are bound to be governed. It therefore behooves any woman who seeks a calm, contented, and untroubled life with her menfolk, to be humble, patient, and obedient, besides being virtuous, a quality that every judicious woman considers her especial and most valuable possession.

Related Characters: Emilia (speaker)
Page Number: 689-690
Explanation and Analysis:

I repeat, therefore, that in my judgement, all those women should be harshly and rigidly punished, who are other than agreeable, kindly, and compliant, as required by Nature, usage, and law.

Hence I should like to acquaint you with a piece of advice that was once proffered by Solomon, for it is a useful remedy in treating those who are afflicted by the malady of which I have spoken. It should not be thought that his counsel applies to all women, regardless of whether they require such a remedy, although men have a proverb which says: ‘For a good horse and a bad, spurs are required; for a good woman and a bad, the rod is required.’ Which words, being frivolously interpreted, all women would readily concede to be true: but I suggest that even in their moral sense they are no less admissible.

Related Characters: Emilia (speaker)
Page Number: 690
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 10: Fifth Tale Quotes

“What I want is this,” replied the lady, “In the month of January that is now approaching, I want a garden, somewhere near the town, that is full of green plants, flowers, and leafy trees, exactly as though it were the month of May. And if he fails to provide it, let him take good care never to send you or anyone else to me again. For if he should provoke me any further, I shall no longer keep this matter a secret as I have until now, but I shall seek to rid myself of his attentions by complaining to my husband and kinsfolk.

Related Characters: Dianora (speaker), Ansaldo Gradense, Gilberto, Emilia
Related Symbols: Gardens
Page Number: 727
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Decameron LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Decameron PDF

Emilia Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Emilia appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 1: Sixth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Emilia relates the story of a Franciscan Inquisitor whose zeal is directed by his greed. A... (full context)
Day 1: Seventh Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
The company is delighted by Emilia’s story, and after the laughter dies down, Filostrato prefaces his tale with the claim that... (full context)
Day 1: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
After supper, the company plays music and dances while Emilia sings a love song in which the singer delights in her own beauty so much... (full context)
Day 2: Sixth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
The entire company listens to Fiammetta’s tale with uproarious laughter. Emilia assures her companions that the happy ending of her story will contrast with the unbelievably... (full context)
Day 3: Seventh Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Emilia, the next narrator, tells the story of Tedaldo degli Elisei, who has an affair with... (full context)
Day 4: Seventh Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Filostrato demonstrates his lack of pity for Andreuola by bidding Emilia to begin her story immediately. While it bears a similarity to Panfilo’s—hers is also set... (full context)
Day 5: Second Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Emilia is much more pleased to tell her story today since it is proper for true... (full context)
Day 5: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
After dinner, as Emilia begins to dance, Elissa asks Dioneo to sing. He tries a bunch of bawdy songs,... (full context)
Day 6: Eighth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...company are a little embarrassed by Filostrato’s tale, but by the end, they’re laughing merrily. Emilia, as if rousing herself from a pleasant daydream, begins her story next. (full context)
Day 7: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Emilia, noting that women are often scared of werewolves, plans to tell a tale with a... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Emilia notes that some people say that Monna Tessa had set the skull for “stay away”... (full context)
Day 8: Fourth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Emilia’s story, like Panfilo’s, describes a lustful cleric. Monna Piccarda, a young widow of noble birth,... (full context)
Day 8: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Lauretta, commending Pietro dello Canigiano’s wisdom, elects Emilia the next day’s sovereign. Emilia notes that times of rest are necessary for productivity, so... (full context)
Day 9: Ninth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Emilia’s tale begins with an explanation of women’s place in the world. By custom and law,... (full context)
Day 9: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...how much readers are laughing at it now. As the heat of the day diminishes, Emilia crowns Panfilo the company’s next sovereign, and he takes the theme of generous deeds performed... (full context)
Day 10: Fifth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
While Emilia agrees that Gentile de’ Carisendi’s generosity was great, her story will show that it is... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Emilia, like Lauretta, challenges her audience to decide who is the more generous lover: Gentile de’... (full context)