The Decameron

The Decameron


Giovanni Boccaccio

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Young Nuns Character Analysis

The eight Young Nuns of Filostrato’s third tale (III, 1) defy conventional thinking about Brides of Christ. Their lack of kindness towards their first gardener and the abuse they heap on Masetto when they think he can’t hear them contribute to The Decameron’s anticlerical satire by showing the nuns to be shallow and mean. Moreover, all of them, including their Abbess, give in to carnal lust with Masetto. Instead of keeping their vows of chastity, they hide their sins from the world.

Young Nuns Quotes in The Decameron

The The Decameron quotes below are all either spoken by Young Nuns or refer to Young Nuns. 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 3: Conclusion Quotes

“Now we shall discover whether the wolf can fare any better at leading the sheep than the sheep have fared in leading the wolves.”

On hearing this, Filostrato laughed and said: “Had you listened to me, the wolves would have taught the sheep by now to put the devil back in Hell, no less skillfully than Rustico taught Alibech. But you have not exactly been behaving like sheep, and therefore you must not describe us as wolves…”

“Allow me to tell you, Filostrato,” replied Neifile, “that if you men had tried to teach us anything of the sort, you might have learned some sense from us, as Masetto did from the nuns, and retrieved the use of your tongues when your bones were rattling from exhaustion.”

On perceiving that the ladies had as many scythes as he had arrows, Filostrato abandoned his jesting and turned to the business of ruling his kingdom.

Related Characters: Filostrato (speaker), Neifile (speaker), Rustico, Alibech, Young Nuns, Masetto
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Decameron PDF

Young Nuns Character Timeline in The Decameron

The timeline below shows where the character Young Nuns appears in The Decameron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Day 3: First Tale
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
One day, two of the Young Nuns stumble on Masetto pretending to sleep in the garden. The first one, having heard about... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Faith vs. Religion Theme Icon
The rest of the Young Nuns eventually discover these goings-on and join the fun, as does the Abbess, who requires Masetto... (full context)
Day 3: Conclusion
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
...Neifile retorts that if he had, the women would have taken a page from the Young Nuns in his story and exhausted them like Masetto. Realizing that Neifile’s wit matches his own,... (full context)