The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Filostrato Character Analysis

Filostrato is the second of the brigata’s men. His name means “defeated by love.” In allegorical readings of the book, he is associated with anger, a trait he displays when Pampinea tells a silly tale of frustrated lovers instead of a tragic one. As he complains when he’s crowned sovereign of Day IV, he himself has been unlucky in love. Because another of Giovanni Boccaccio’s works, titled Il Filostrato, is dedicated to a “Filomena,” it’s possible that Filomena is the object of his unreturned affections. Moreover, his tales throughout The Decameron frequently have a sexual component that sometimes denigrates women. However, he is gallant, and tolerates his companions’ complaints about his depressing topic, even making amends with an excellent tale of successful lovers on Day V. When Neifile crowns him sovereign, he engages in some sexually charged jesting with her, but quickly backs off when he realizes that he’s met his match (if not his superior) in her wit. He travels to the countryside with his servant, Tindaro.

Filostrato Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Filostrato or refer to Filostrato. 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 2: Third Tale Quotes

The whole company, men and ladies alike, listened with admiration to the adventures of Rinaldo d’Asti, commending his piety and giving thanks to God and Saint Julian, who had come to his rescue in the hour of his greatest need. Nor, moreover, was the lady considered to have acted foolishly (even though nobody openly said so) for the way she had accepted the blessing that God had left on her doorstep. And while everyone was busy talking, with half-suppressed mirth, about the pleasant night the lady had spent, Pampinea […] started planning what to say.

Page Number: 82-83
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 3: First Tale Quotes

Thus it was that Masetto, now an elderly and prosperous father who was spared the bother of feeding his children and the expense of their upbringing, returned to the place from which he had set out with an axe on his shoulder, having had the sense to employ his youth to good advantage. And this, he maintained, was the way that Christ treated anyone who set a pair of horns on His crown.

Related Characters: Filostrato (speaker), Masetto
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 3: Conclusion Quotes

“Now we shall discover whether the wolf can fare any better at leading the sheep than the sheep have fared in leading the wolves.”

On hearing this, Filostrato laughed and said: “Had you listened to me, the wolves would have taught the sheep by now to put the devil back in Hell, no less skillfully than Rustico taught Alibech. But you have not exactly been behaving like sheep, and therefore you must not describe us as wolves…”

“Allow me to tell you, Filostrato,” replied Neifile, “that if you men had tried to teach us anything of the sort, you might have learned some sense from us, as Masetto did from the nuns, and retrieved the use of your tongues when your bones were rattling from exhaustion.”

On perceiving that the ladies had as many scythes as he had arrows, Filostrato abandoned his jesting and turned to the business of ruling his kingdom.

Related Characters: Filostrato (speaker), Neifile (speaker), Rustico, Alibech, Young Nuns, Masetto
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 5: Fourth Tale Quotes

When there was no longer any sound to be heard, Ricciardo climbed over a wall with the aid of a ladder, then climbed up to the side of the house by clinging with great difficulty to a series of stones projecting from the wall. At every moment of the ascent, he was in serious danger of falling, but in the end he reached the balcony unscathed, where he was silently received by the girl with very great rejoicing. After exchanging many kisses, they lay down together and for virtually the entire night they had delight and joy of one another, causing the nightingale to sing at frequent intervals.

Related Characters: Filostrato (speaker), Caterina, Ricciardo de’ Manardi
Page Number: 396
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:
Day 10: Third Tale Quotes

Fear me not, then, and rest assured that in view of the loftiness of your motives, no other living person loves you as greatly as I, for you do not devote your energies to the accumulation of riches, as misers do, but to spending what you have amassed. Nor should you feel ashamed for having wanted to kill me to acquire fame, or imagine that I marvel to hear it. In order to extend their dominions, and hence their fame, the mightiest emperors and greatest kings have practiced virtually no other art than that of killing, not just one person as you intended, but countless thousands, setting whole provinces ablaze and razing whole cities to the ground.

Related Characters: Nathan (speaker), Mithridanes, Filostrato
Page Number: 716
Explanation and Analysis:
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Filostrato Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Filostrato 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
...and split 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... (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 it’s easy to hit a sitting target, like... (full context)
Day 2: Second Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
While the company is still laughing over Neifile’s story, Filomena commands Filostrato to tell the next tale. Rinaldo d’Asti is a traveling merchant who unfortunately falls into... (full context)
Day 3: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Filostrato remarks that there are a lot of ignorant people who think that nuns and peasants... (full context)
Day 3: Second Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
The ladies alternately blush and laugh at Filostrato’s tale, and Pampinea is still laughing when she begins her tale. Agilulf, king of Lombardy,... (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 it is time to see if the wolves can lead the sheep... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...has long been enslaved by his love for one of the ladies (who remains unnamed), Filostrato knows all too well that following the rules of love doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Therefore,... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...songs about romances, others playing games—until supper, after which they prepare to enjoy some music. Filostrato asks Lauretta to sing, and she offers one of her own songs with the warning... (full context)
Day 4: Introduction
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...fourth day, the companions arise and 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
...lovers, especially since the company left Florence to avoid their woes. Nevertheless, she will fulfil Filostrato’s command with the story of Tancredi and his daughter (later identified as Ghismonda). Tancredi loves... (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 to enjoy love... (full context)
Day 4: Third Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Filostrato, annoyed that Pampinea told a funny tale, hopes that Lauretta will do better. Despite her... (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.... (full context)
Day 4: Ninth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
 Not to be outdone on his own theme, Filostrato prepares to tell a tale that will arouse more pity than Neifile’s, since its subjects... (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 such a disagreeable topic. He then places the crown on the... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...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 the singer’s... (full context)
Day 5: Fourth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Filostrato begins his tale with a laugh, acknowledging the mockery he’s received from his companions for... (full context)
Day 5: Fifth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
It takes a long time after Filostrato’s tale ends for the laughter to die down, and Fiammetta declares that he’s atoned for... (full context)
Day 6: Fifth Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
In his tale, Filostrato proposes to expand on Pampinea’s claim that fortune sometimes hides wit in humble men with... (full context)
Day 6: Seventh Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Filostrato notes that while being able to say the right thing is generally good, it’s even... (full context)
Day 6: Eighth Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
At first the ladies of the company are a little embarrassed by Filostrato’s tale, but by the end, they’re laughing merrily. Emilia, as if rousing herself from a... (full context)
Day 6: Conclusion
Men and Women Theme Icon
...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 to find the... (full context)
Day 7: Second Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Filostrato goes next, noting the value in sharing wives’ tricks, since displays of their cleverness will... (full context)
Day 8: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...forces of Love—rather than seeking material gain—deserve leniency for their sexual indiscretions, as illustrated in Filostrato’s tale of Madonna Filippa. (full context)
Day 8: Fifth Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Elissa’s tale reminded Filostrato of another anecdote about Maso del Saggio. Florence’s chief magistrates are often “mean-hearted men” who... (full context)
Day 9: Third Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Filostrato will tell the Calandrino story he almost used on Day 8. When Calandrino’s aunt dies,... (full context)
Day 10: Third Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
...surprised by the clerical generosity in Elissa’s tale that Panfilo must interrupt their conversation so Filostrato can tell his tale. He proposes to outdo Elissa with the story of a man’s... (full context)