The Decameron

The Decameron

by

Giovanni Boccaccio

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Worthy Priest Character Analysis

In Panfilo’s eighth tale (VIII, 2), the Worthy Priest cares for the souls of a small country hamlet. He’s not very educated but keeps his parishioners entertained with fun sermons and their wives from being lonely in their husbands’ absence. He foolishly pawns his woolen cloak for sex with Belcolore, but then tricks her into having to return it for free. He is a part of The Decameron’s anticlerical satire, with his interest in having sex and his reputation for ruining women’s honor. He also demonstrates the power men wield over women in the patriarchal hierarchy of medieval society, threatening Belcolore with hellfire until she forgives him for his trick.

Worthy Priest Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Worthy Priest or refer to Worthy Priest. 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 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:

“How much is it worth?” said the priest. “Why, I’ll have you know that it’s made of pure Douai, not to say Trouai, and there are those in the parish who would claim that it’s Quadrouai. I bought it less than a fortnight ago from Lotto, the old-clothes merchant, for exactly seven pounds, and according to Buglietto d’Alberto, who as you know is an expert in such matters, it would have been cheap at half the price.”

“Is that so?” said Belcolore, “So help me God, I would never have believed it. But anyway, let’s have a look.”

Related Characters: Worthy Priest (speaker), Belcolore
Page Number: 558
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Decameron LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Decameron PDF

Worthy Priest Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Worthy Priest appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 8: Second Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
...useful moral that one shouldn’t believe everything a priest says. In Varlungo, a barely literate Worthy Priest entertains his parishioners with “holy aphorisms” on Sundays. In their husbands’ absence, he “blesses” the... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Class and Character Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
The Worthy Priest tries to attract Monna Belcolore’s attentions, singing in church to impress her (he sounds like... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Moderation and Excess Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
The Worthy Priest promises to pay Monna Belcolore within a week, but she refuses “to do his bidding... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
But being a “crafty […] fellow,” the Worthy Priest comes up with a plan to retrieve his cloak for free. The next day, he... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Monna Belcolore sends the cloak back to the Worthy Priest with her own message: he “won’t be grinding any more of [his] sauces in her... (full context)