The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Fiammetta Character Analysis

Fiammetta is a member of the brigata, whose name means “little flame.” In allegorical readings of the book, she is associated with temperance because she is so frequently in the company of Dioneo (who represents lust). She takes her maid, Stratilia, with her to the countryside. Notably, Fiammetta is the only narrator described in physical detail, and she has long, golden curls, pure white skin, a round face, ruby-red lips, and eyes that gleam like a falcon. This is particularly interesting since Giovanni Boccaccio includes a character named “Fiammetta” in at least eight of his major works, and these characters are often understood to represent the woman whom he loved. In The Decameron, Fiammetta plays the viol and is the sovereign of Day V, which focuses on happy lovers.

Fiammetta Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Fiammetta or refer to Fiammetta . 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: Fifth Tale Quotes

Whereas men, if they are very wise, will always seek to love ladies of higher station than their own, women, if they are very discerning, will know how to guard against accepting the advances of a man who is of more exalted rank. For which reasons, and also because of the pleasure I feel at our having, through stories, begun to demonstrate the power of good repartee, I have been prompted to show you, fair ladies, in the story I have to tell, how through her good words and actions a gentlewoman avoided this pitfall and guided her suitor clear of its dangers.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker)
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Being an intelligent and judicious woman, she sent back a message to say that she was glad to have been singled out for this uniquely great favor, and that the king would be very welcome. She then began to wonder why such a great king should be calling upon her in her husband’s absence. Nor was she wrong in the conclusion that she reached, namely, that he was being drawn thither by the fame of her beauty. Nevertheless, with her habitual nobility of spirit she made ready to entertain him[.]

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Marchioness of Montferrat, King Philip II
Page Number: 49-50
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 2: Fifth Tale Quotes

Nature demanded that he should relieve his belly, which was inordinately full, so he asked […] where he could do it, and the boy showed him a door in one of the corners of the room […] Andreuccio passed jauntily through, and chanced to step on to a plank, which came away at its other end from the beam on which it was resting, so that it flew up in the air and fell into the lower regions, taking Andreuccio with it. Although he had fallen from a goodly height, he mercifully suffered no injury; but he got himself daubed from head to foot in the filthy mess with which the place was literally swimming.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Andreuccio di Pietro, Sicilian Woman
Related Symbols: Fortune
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 5: Ninth Tale Quotes

You are to know, then, that Coppo di Borghese Domenichi, who once used to live in our city and possibly lives there still, one of the most highly respected men of our century, a person worthy of eternal fame, who achieved his position of pre-eminence by dint of his character and abilities rather than by his noble lineage, frequently took pleasure in his declining years in discussing incidents from the past with his neighbors and other folk. In this pastime he excelled all others, for he was far more coherent, possessed a superior memory, and spoke with greater eloquence.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Coppo di Borghese Domenichi, Boccaccio
Page Number: 425-426
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 7: Fifth Tale Quotes

And so it was that the jealous wretch, having thought himself very clever in ferreting out his wife’s secret, saw that he had made an ass of himself. Without saying anything by way of reply, he began to look on his wife as a model of intelligence and virtue. And just as he had worn the mantle of the jealous husband when it was unnecessary, he cast it off completely now that his need for it was paramount. So his clever little wife, having, as it were, acquired a license to enjoy herself, no longer admitted her lover by way of the roof as though he were some kind of cat, but showed him in at the front door. And from that day forth, by proceeding with caution, she spent many an entertaining and delightful hour in his arms.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Jealous Merchant, Jealous Merchant’s Wife
Page Number: 513
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 9: Fifth Tale Quotes

Hence, albeit we have referred many times to the doings of Calandrino, they are invariably so amusing, as Filostrato pointed out a little earlier, that I shall venture to add a further tale to those we have already heard about him. I could easily have told it in some other way, using fictitious names, had I wished to do; but since by departing from the truth of what actually happened, the storyteller greatly diminishes the pleasure of his listeners, I shall turn for support to my opening remarks, and tell it in its proper form.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Calandrino, Filostrato
Page Number: 669
Explanation and Analysis:

He gave her a friendly greeting, which she acknowledged, then she began to stare at him, not because she found him the least bit attractive, but because she was fascinated by his odd appearance. Calandrino returned her gaze, and on seeing how beautiful she was, began to think of various excuses for not returning with the water to his companions. However, not knowing who she was, he was afraid to address her, and the girl, perceiving that he was still staring at her, mischievously rolled her eyes at him a couple of times, and fetched a few little sighs, so that Calandrino instantly fell in love with her and stood rooted to the spot till she was called inside by Filippo.

Related Characters: Fiammetta (speaker), Calandrino, Niccolosa, Bachelor Filippo
Page Number: 669-670
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Decameron LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Decameron PDF

Fiammetta Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Fiammetta 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
Class and Character Theme Icon
...to prevent any embarrassment that might arise from naughtiness in their stories. They are Pampinea, Fiammetta, Filomena, Emelia, Lauretta, Neifile, and Elissa. (full context)
Day 1: Fifth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
...amused. When he finishes, they gently rebuke him for the naughtiness of his story. It’s Fiammetta’s turn next. Her tale reminds the company that women must be extremely cautious about accepting... (full context)
Day 2: Fifth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Fiammetta remarks that Landolfo’s jewels have reminded her of a tale with as much adventure as... (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... (full context)
Day 3: Sixth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Fiammetta’s tale describes how an ingenious lover coerces the prudish object of his desire into his... (full context)
Day 4: Introduction
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...pleasantly while away the hours in the garden until Filostrato gathers them together and asks Fiammetta to tell the first tale. (full context)
Day 4: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Fiammetta thinks it’s cruel to be asked to tell tales of unhappy lovers, especially since the... (full context)
Day 4: Second Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Everyone weeps at the conclusion of Fiammetta’s tale, except Filostrato, who declares that Ghismonda and Guiscardo were luckier than him; they got... (full context)
Day 4: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...disagreeable topic. He then places the crown on the blonde head of the incredibly beautiful Fiammetta. To truly teach Filostrato the error of his ways, Fiammetta declares that the next day’s... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...endlessly beautiful garden. After supper, so that his sad woes will blight no further days, Fiammetta asks Filostrato to sing a song. He sings a lament complaining about the cruelty of... (full context)
Day 5: Intro
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
The sun’s rays are already peeking over the horizon when Fiammetta awakens to the sounds of birdsong. The company whiles away the time pleasantly in the... (full context)
Day 5: Third Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Elissa, eager to obey Fiammetta’s orders, begins her tale next. In Rome—lately turned from the head to the rump of... (full context)
Day 5: Fifth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...takes a long time after Filostrato’s tale ends for the laughter to die down, and Fiammetta declares that he’s atoned for yesterday’s sorrows before asking Neifile to tell the next story. (full context)
Day 5: Ninth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Fiammetta’s story, like Filomena’s, shows women the danger of allowing love to fall into the hands... (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 the next day’s theme will... (full context)
Day 6: Sixth Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo’s story mentioned the Baronci, which inspires Fiammetta’s tale. In Florence, Michele Scalza is visiting some friends who argue about who is the... (full context)
Day 7: Fifth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Fiammetta picks up on Lauretta’s theme and offers another example of marital jealousy. In Rimini a... (full context)
Day 7: Conclusion
Men and Women Theme Icon
...The members of the company pass the time before dinner as they please; Dioneo and Fiammetta sing about Palamon and Arcite. They return to the palace before dark for refreshments and... (full context)
Day 8: Eighth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...upon herself,” even if  Rinieri was “excessively severe and relentless, not to say downright cruel.” Fiammetta’s tale will show how lesser actions can avenge a wrong equally, rather than “out of... (full context)
Day 9: Fifth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Fiammetta returns to the consistently entertaining subject of Calandrino for her next tale. When Niccolò Cornacchini... (full context)
Day 9: Sixth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Niccolosa in Fiammetta’s tale has reminded Panfilo of a story about another woman by the same name. North... (full context)
Day 10: Sixth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...focus on entertainment and avoid debates like the ones her predecessors have been engaging in, Fiammetta abandons her initial story for a less ambiguous one. After King Charles has defeated King... (full context)
Day 10: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
After dinner, they sing and dance, and Fiammetta offers a song about love and jealousy. The joy of someone who could love without... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Dioneo quips that if Fiammetta would name her lover, she’d prevent anyone taking him by accident. At midnight, the company... (full context)