The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Decameron can help.
Tancredi, the Prince of Salerno, appears in Fiammetta’s fourth tale (IV, 1). He is a good ruler and excellent man, but his selfish love of his daughter, Ghismonda, made him slow to find her a husband after she was widowed. When she begins an affair with Tancredi’s valet, Guiscardo, he feels betrayed by his child and his servant; in his extreme wrath he has Guiscardo executed, then cuts out his heart and sends it to Ghismonda. In declaring Guiscardo unworthy of his daughter, he represents a noble attitude that class should be defined by wealth and birth (which are accidents of fortune) rather than character. His story mirrors that of Amerigo Abate (V, 7).

Tancredi Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Tancredi or refer to Tancredi. 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

Tancredi Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Tancredi 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
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...Florence to avoid their woes. Nevertheless, she will fulfil Filostrato’s command with the story of Tancredi and his daughter (later identified as Ghismonda). Tancredi loves Ghismonda so much that he takes... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...but with 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... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
...of meeting, they enjoy each other often until their happiness attracts the envy of fortune. Tancredi habitually comes to Ghismonda’s bedroom to chat. One day, while she’s in the garden, he... (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... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...to overcome her feminine weakness. Instead of “screaming and sobbing” like most women, she answers Tancredi with neither contrition nor “womanly distress.” She admits to loving Guiscardo, a circumstance that was... (full context)
Class and Character Theme Icon
...take a random lover but looked carefully for someone who was worthy of her love. Tancredi implied that he would have preferred her to have taken a noble lover, but fortune... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Tancredi doesn’t believe that Ghismonda will commit suicide, so he decides it’s safe to get the... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...for death. Her maids, confused by her words and unaware of the heart’s origin, fetch Tancredi, who “bursts into floods of tears” on seeing her. Reproaching her father for his cruelty,... (full context)