The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Decameron can help.

Guiscardo Character Analysis

Guiscardo appears in Fiammetta’s fourth tale (IV, 1) where he is Tancredi’s valet and Ghismonda’s lover. Despite his humble origins, his excellent character earns Tancredi’s trust and Ghismonda’s love. She praises him as an example of a humble man whose nobility comes from his character, in contrast to ignoble men whom fortune has blessed with wealth and status.

Guiscardo Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Guiscardo or refer to Guiscardo. 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:
Get the entire The Decameron LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Decameron PDF

Guiscardo Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Guiscardo 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
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...her sexual needs ignored, she decides to take a lover. She falls for Tancredi’s valet, Guiscardo, who is of humble birth but has an excellent and noble character. He returns her... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Ghismonda smuggles a letter to Guiscardo explaining that a huge cave lies under the palace with steps leading up to a... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...for her, and he falls asleep. He wakes up to the sound of Ghismonda and Guiscardo having sex. Horrified, he keeps quiet, and when the lovers part, he climbs out of... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
At nightfall, Tancredi has Guiscardo arrested. The prince chastises the valet for the crime he has committed “against that which... (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 with a proud... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
...shouldn’t be taken as the only indication of a person’s worth. Ghismonda was attracted to Guiscardo’s character, which Tancredi’s high opinion confirmed. One can’t call Guiscardo base, and if he’s poor... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...commit suicide, so he decides it’s safe to get the revenge he wants by killing Guiscardo. He has Guiscardo’s heart put into a gold chalice and sent to Ghismonda with the... (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... (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 he dies... (full context)