The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Ghismonda Character Analysis

In Fiammetta’s fourth tale (IV, 1), Ghismonda is Tancredi’s widowed daughter. Because her father is slow to find her a new husband, she takes his valet, Guiscardo, as a lover. Although she demonstrates the discernment (picking a good man) and circumspection (keeping it quiet) of a fin’amors lover, she falls victim to fortune when her father discovers the affair. She demonstrates virile self-control and self-determination when she avoids excessive emotional displays of grief and calmly takes her own life after Guiscardo is executed; in her suicide she reflects Roussillon’s Wife, who demonstrates similar traits in taking her own life in a later tale.

Ghismonda Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Ghismonda or refer to Ghismonda. 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 4: First Tale Quotes

But leaving this aside, consider for a moment the principles of things, and you will see that we are all of one flesh and that our souls were created by a single Maker, who gave the same capacities and powers and faculties to each. We were all born equal, and still are, but merit first set us apart, and those who had more of it, and used it the most, acquired the names of nobles to distinguish themselves from the rest. Since then, this law has been obscured by a contrary practice, but nature and good manners ensure that its force still remains unimpaired; hence any man whose conduct is virtuous proclaims himself a noble, and those who call him by any other name are in error.

Related Characters: Ghismonda (speaker), Guiscardo, Tancredi
Page Number: 297
Explanation and Analysis:

Save those tears of yours for a less coveted fate than this of mine, Tancredi, and shed them not for me, for I do not want them. Who ever heard of anyone, other than yourself, who wept on achieving his wishes? But if you still retain some tiny spark of your former love for me, grant me one final gift, and since it displeased you that I should live quietly with Guiscardo in secret, see that my body is publicly laid to rest beside his in whatever spot you choose to cast his remains.

Related Characters: Ghismonda (speaker), Tancredi, Guiscardo
Page Number: 301
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Decameron PDF

Ghismonda Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Ghismonda appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 4: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...will fulfil Filostrato’s command with the story of Tancredi and his daughter (later identified as Ghismonda). Tancredi loves Ghismonda so much that he takes longer than usual to find her a... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Ghismonda is beautiful, vivacious, and “has rather more intelligence than a woman needs.” Living a grand... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Ghismonda smuggles a letter to Guiscardo explaining that a huge cave lies under the palace with... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...each other often until their happiness attracts the envy of fortune. Tancredi habitually comes to Ghismonda’s bedroom to chat. One day, while she’s in the garden, he sits down behind her... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...“Neither you nor I can resist the power of Love.” The next day, Tancredi confronts Ghismonda. He so completely trusted her honesty and virtue that he couldn’t have imagined she would... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Ghismonda assumes that Guiscardo is already dead, and, resolved to quickly follow him, answers her father... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
Ghismonda didn’t take a random lover but looked carefully for someone who was worthy of her... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Tancredi doesn’t believe that Ghismonda will commit suicide, so he decides it’s safe to get the revenge he wants by... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Looking at Guiscardo’s heart, Ghismonda curses her father’s cruelty and mourns the short life allotted to her lover by fortune.... (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 for a time, but... (full context)