The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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In Dioneo’s fourth tale (IV, 10), Mazzeo della Montagna marries Mazzeo’s Wife. Because she is young, pretty, and high-spirited, she is disappointed by his sexual inadequacies and takes Ruggieri d’Aieroli as her lover. In this way, she fulfills the misogynistic medieval stereotype of women’s excessive sexual appetites. But she also demonstrates the quick intelligence celebrated in The Decameron’s characters when she and her Trusted Maid handle the apparent death of her lover in the house and his subsequent arrest for a crime he didn’t commit.
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Mazzeo’s Wife Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Mazzeo’s Wife appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 4: Tenth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
...woman in his old age. Because he’s rich, he keeps her in fine style, but Mazzeo’s Wife often feels chilly at night because he fails to keep her properly covered. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...that so many days are necessary to recover from making love to a woman. Frustrated, Mazzeo’s Wife decides to protect her husband’s family jewels by polishing someone else’s. She settles on Ruggieri... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
After Mazzeo’s Wife and Ruggieri d’Aieroli have been lovers for a while, Mazzeo della Montagna happens to receive... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...the bottle of potion and drinks it all down, which puts him out cold. When Mazzeo’s Wife comes to the bedroom, she can’t wake him, and she becomes alarmed when he sleeps... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...a few times to make it look like someone else’s foul play, and leave him. Mazzeo’s Wife categorically refuses the stabbing but likes the trunk idea. They carry him out and stuff... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
News of Ruggieri d’Aieroli’s arrest spreads quickly through Salerno, much to the astonishment of Mazzeo’s Wife and the Trusted Maid, who were sure that he was dead. They start to suspect... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Mazzeo’s Wife begs the Trusted Maid to help her save Ruggieri d’Aieroli without revealing the affair. The... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...testimony, and after hearing all the evidence, he finds Ruggieri innocent. Ruggieri, the Maid, and Mazzeo’s Wife have many a laugh about the story, and their love continues to flourish. (full context)