The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Panfilo Character Analysis

Panfilo is the one of the three men who join the brigata. His name literally means “all loving.” In allegorical readings of the book, he is associated with reason, balancing out Filostrato (anger) and Dioneo (lust). He travels to the countryside with his valet, Sirisco. Pampinea invites him to tell the first story on the first day, and he is crowned the sovereign of Day X, with munificence (generosity) as its theme. It’s also Panfilo who suggests that the company return to Florence before their idyll in the country can be marred by gossip or unwanted guests. His song, like Elissa’s and Filomena’s, excites speculation among his friends over its implication that he has already found what he was looking for with his beloved.

Panfilo Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Panfilo or refer to Panfilo. 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 2: Seventh Tale Quotes

When he learnt about the circumstances of her arrival in the city, he saw no reason why he should not be able to have her. And indeed, once the wounded man’s relatives discovered that the Prince was putting out inquiries, they promptly sent her off to him without asking any questions. The prince was highly delighted, but so also was the lady, who considered that she had now escaped from a most dangerous situation. On finding that she was endowed with stately manners as well as beauty, the Prince calculated, since he could obtain no other clue to her identity, that she must be a woman of gentle birth, and his love for her was accordingly redoubled. And not only did he keep her in splendid style, but he treated her as though she were his wife rather than his mistress.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Alatiel , Prince of Morea, The Young Masters
Related Symbols: Fortune
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 3: Fourth Tale Quotes

Friar Puccio thought he could detect a certain amount of vibration in the floorboards. When […] he had recited a hundred of his paternosters […] without leaving his post, he called out to his wife and demanded to know what she was doing.

His wife […] who at that moment was possibly riding bareback astride the nag of Saint Benedict or Saint John Gaulbert, replied:

‘Heaven help me, dear husband, I am shaking like mad.’

‘Shaking? … What is the meaning of all this shaking?’

His wife shrieked with laughter […] ‘What,’ she replied, ‘You don’t know its meaning? Haven’t I heard you saying, hundreds of times: “He that supper doth not take, in his bed all night will shake”?’

[…]

‘Wife,’ he replied […] ‘I told you not to fast, but you would insist. Try not to think about it. Try and go to sleep.’

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Friar Puccio, Monna Isabetta, Dom Felice
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 5: First Tale Quotes

On catching sight of this vision, Cimon stopped dead in his tracks, and […] began to stare at her, rapt in silent admiration, as though he had never before set eyes upon the female form. And deep within his uncouth breast, which despite a thousand promptings had remained closed to every vestige of refined sentiment, he sensed the awakening of a certain feeling which told his crude, uncultured mind that this girl was the loveliest object that any mortal being had ever seen […] Having suddenly been transformed from a country bumpkin into a connoisseur of beauty, he longed to be able to see her eyes, but they were closed in heavy slumber.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Cimon, Iphigenia
Page Number: 358
Explanation and Analysis:

Leaving the house full of blood, tumult, tears, and sadness, they made their way unimpeded to the ship, keeping close together and carrying their spoils before them. Having handed the ladies aboard, Cimon and Lysimachus followed with their comrades just as the shore began to fill with men who were coming to the rescue of the two ladies. But they plied their oars with a will, and made good their escape.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Cimon, Lysimachus, Iphigenia, Cassandra, Pasimondas, Ormisdas
Page Number: 378
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 6: Fifth Tale Quotes

Hence, by virtue of the fact that he brought back to light an art which had been buried for centuries beneath the blunders of those who, in their paintings, aimed to bring visual delight to the ignorant rather than intellectual satisfaction to the wise, his work may justly be regarded as a shining monument to the glory of Florence. And all the more so, inasmuch as he set an example to others by wearing his celebrity with utmost modesty, and always refused to be called a master, even though such a title befitted him all the more resplendently in proportion to the eagerness with which it was sought and usurped by those who knew less than himself or by his own pupils. But for all the greatness of his art, neither physically nor facially was he any more handsome than Messer Forese.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Giotto, Forese da Rabatta
Page Number: 457-458
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 8: Second Tale Quotes

Her name was Monna Belcolore, she was married to a farmworker called Bentivegna del Mazzo, and without a doubt she was a vigorous and seductive-looking wench, buxom and brown as a berry, who seemed better versed in the grinder’s art than any other girl in the village. When […] she had occasion to play the tambourine, and sing […] and dance a reel or a jig […] she could knock the spots off every single one of her neighbors. Master Priest was so enthralled by all these talents of hers that he was driven to distraction […] Whenever he caught sight of her in church on a Sunday morning, he would intone a Kyrie and a Sanctus, trying very hard to sound like a master cantor when in fact he was braying like an ass, whereas if she was nowhere to be seen he would hardly open his lips.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker), Worthy Priest, Belcolore, Bentivegna del Mazzo
Page Number: 555-556
Explanation and Analysis:
Day 10: Conclusion Quotes

For as far as I have been able to observe, albeit the tales related here have been amusing, perhaps of a sort to stimulate carnal desire, and we have continually partaken of excellent food and drink, played music, and sung many songs, all of which may encourage unseemly behavior among those who are of feeble mind, neither in word nor in deed nor in any other respect have I known either you or ourselves to be worthy of censure. On the contrary, from what I have seen and heard, it seems to me that our proceedings have been marked by a constant sense of propriety, an unfailing spirit of harmony, and a continual feeling of brotherly and sisterly amity. All of which pleases me greatly, as it surely redounds to our communal honor and credit.

Related Characters: Panfilo (speaker)
Page Number: 795-796
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Decameron LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Decameron PDF

Panfilo Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Panfilo appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 1: Introduction
Men and Women Theme Icon
...quarrel and split up. Elissa agrees, wondering where they can find the right men. Meanwhile, Panfilo, Filostrato, and Dioneo enter the church looking for their lady-loves (who are among the company)... (full context)
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...by telling stories—on any topic—because it amuses both the teller and the audience. Turning to Panfilo, she asks him to go first.  (full context)
Day 1: First Tale 
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Panfilo remarks that it’s appropriate to invoke God at the beginning of a project, so he... (full context)
Day 1: Second Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Neifile, seated next to Panfilo, tells the next tale, about how God’s mercy can even overcome the shortcomings of the... (full context)
Day 2: Seventh Tale
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Panfilo begins his tale with some general comments on fortune, noting that it’s hard for humans... (full context)
Day 2: Eighth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Panfilo’s tale inspires many a sigh from the ladies—maybe from pity for Alatiel, maybe from jealousy... (full context)
Day 3: Fourth Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Panfilo tells the next tale, which will illustrate a saying that many people accidentally send someone... (full context)
Day 4: Sixth Tale
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Panfilo, inspired by Lisabetta’s dream, prefaces his tale with a few observations about dreams. While everyone... (full context)
Day 4: Seventh Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...Andreuola by bidding Emilia to begin her story immediately. While it bears a similarity to Panfilo’s—hers is also set in a garden and her lady also escapes the law—it’s different because... (full context)
Day 5: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo addresses the ladies, saying that his tale not only shows the fate of happy lovers—the... (full context)
Day 6: Sixth Tale
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo’s story mentioned the Baronci, which inspires Fiammetta’s tale. In Florence, Michele Scalza is visiting some... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
...as proof, he rests his case. Everyone agrees, declaring Michele the winner. This is why Panfilo compared Forese da Rabatta’s appearance to the Baronci. (full context)
Day 6: Conclusion
Men and Women Theme Icon
...exit the water, dress, and return to the men, Pampinea describes the Valley to Dioneo, Panfilo, and Filostrato. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
After supper, Dioneo, Panfilo, and Filostrato travel to see the Valley of the Ladies for themselves. They return to... (full context)
Day 7: Ninth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo’s tale is about a woman who played the biggest trick of all, with the aid... (full context)
Day 8: Second Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo’s “tale of country love” will teach the useful moral that one shouldn’t believe everything a... (full context)
Day 8: Fourth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
Emilia’s story, like Panfilo’s, describes a lustful cleric. Monna Piccarda, a young widow of noble birth, lives near Fiesole’s... (full context)
Day 8: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...the next day’s tales address the topics that please their tellers. After supper, she asks Panfilo to sing a song. (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Panfilo’s song speaks of love’s joyful suffering; it is in the voice of a lover who... (full context)
Day 9: Sixth Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Niccolosa in Fiammetta’s tale has reminded Panfilo of a story about another woman by the same name. North of Florence in the... (full context)
Day 9: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...readers are laughing at it now. As the heat of the day diminishes, Emilia crowns Panfilo the company’s next sovereign, and he takes the theme of generous deeds performed either for... (full context)
Day 10: Introduction
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
On the morning of the tenth day, the members of the company amuse themselves under Panfilo’s direction, talking about “the lives they [intend] to lead in the future” until the day... (full context)
Day 10: Third Tale
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
The company is so surprised by the clerical generosity in Elissa’s tale that Panfilo must interrupt their conversation so Filostrato can tell his tale. He proposes to outdo Elissa... (full context)
Day 10: Ninth Tale
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Panfilo praises Filomena’s description of friendship, then turns to his own story, which shows another eminently... (full context)
Day 10: Conclusion
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
The company discusses Dioneo’s tale until sunset. Panfilo, noting that wisdom includes remembering the past, understanding the present, and thinking about the future,... (full context)