The Decameron

The Decameron


Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron: Day 5: Conclusion Summary & Analysis

With Dioneo’s story at an end, Fiammetta crowns Elissa as the next day’s sovereign. She decrees that the next day’s theme will be people who have returned tit for tat or who have been saved from danger or ridicule by way of a quick reply.
Since the first day, many of The Decameron’s tales have turned on a clever answer or timely reply. Thus, many threads previously introduced to the larger work will be woven through the tales of Day 6, based on Elissa’s theme of wisecrack and retort.
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After dinner, as Emilia begins to dance, Elissa asks Dioneo to sing. He tries a bunch of bawdy songs, which are all rejected by the ladies, until finally agreeing on a “pleasant” song that describes how the light from a lady’s eyes kindles love in a man’s heart and subjects him to Cupid’s sovereignty.
Dioneo seems unwilling to move beyond the smutty ending to his tale in his suggestion of dirty songs. But the idea of balance that the brigata exemplifies means that when Elissa chastises him for his disrespect, he bites his tongue and sings the kind of song he’s been asked to. He thus demonstrates both respect for the sovereign’s authority as well as self-mastery and control. 
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