The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Maddalena Character Analysis

In Lauretta’s fourth tale (IV, 3), Maddalena and her twin Bertella are the younger sisters of Ninetta. She runs away to Crete with her lover Folco and her sisters. After Ninetta murders Restagnone, Maddalena has sex with the Duke of Crete to secure her sister’s release, and Folco murders her in a jealous rage. Like her sisters, she illustrates the day’s theme—unlucky lovers—but she also demonstrates the vulnerability of women and the importance of male control over female sexuality, since her own lover kills her as punishment for having sex with someone else.
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Maddalena Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Maddalena appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 4: Third Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...N’Arnald Civada have arranged marriages for his daughters, contingent on his return home. Ninetta and Maddalena are twins, and their younger sister is named Bertella. Ninetta loves a poor but noble-born... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
...the Duke of Crete arrests Ninetta. Folco, Ughetto, and their ladies beg leniency for Ninetta. Maddalena goes further and offers to sleep with the Duke, who loves her, if he will... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
But despite Maddalena’s best efforts, Folco discovers Ninetta hidden in their home. Knowing that the Duke of Crete... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
The next day, the Duke of Crete hears about the discovery of Maddalena’s corpse. He arrests Ughetto and Bertella, torturing them until they confess to being responsible with... (full context)