The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Nathan is the protagonist of Filostrato’s tenth tale (X, 3). He is a wealthy nobleman living in the East who builds a splendid palace from which to generously share hospitality and wealth with travelers. In this tale, he is an example of Christ-like generosity since he is willing to give up his life to make his sworn enemy, Mithridanes, happy. But his example inspires Mithridanes to become a better person.

Nathan Quotes in The Decameron

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

Nathan Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Nathan appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 10: Third Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
...Cathay (according to the Genoese), there is an extremely noble and extremely wealthy man named Nathan. Because his property lies along a major East-West route, he builds and furnishes a splendid... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Mithridanes travels to Nathan’s palace. When he encounters his rival, he doesn’t recognize him. Nathan is plainly dressed and... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Although Mithridanes’s murderous intentions unsettle Nathan, he is courageous and appreciative of the younger man’s envy, since it inspires generosity. He... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
In the morning, while Nathan walks in the wood, Mithridanes rushes on him. When he exclaims that the hour of... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Nathan embraces Mithridanes and says that he loves him for spending his wealth generously. He even... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
But instead of murdering him, Mithridanes now wishes he could add years to Nathan’s life. Nathan, always the giver, would refuse this gift. Instead, he suggests that Mithridanes could... (full context)
Day 10: Fourth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Everyone agrees that Nathan was certainly more generous than King Alphonso and the Abbot of Cluny. Since the ground... (full context)