The Decameron

The Decameron


Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron: Day 9: Introduction Summary & Analysis

In the morning, the company amuses themselves in a nearby woods by chasing the nearly tame “roebucks, stags, and other wild creatures” that live there. Their youth and vitality shine as they adorn themselves with leaves, herbs, and flowers; anyone looking at them would think they “will not be vanquished by death, or […] will welcome it with joy.” After their customary activities, they sit down to tell tales.
Day 9, the second-to-last day, emphasizes the balance and moderation inherent in the brigata: although the choice of tales is free, they all choose to tell stories that speak to each other and continue to operate within the boundaries of entertainment and education. The Edenic, other-worldly description of the garden mirrors this theme. The animals are wild and free, yet they live willingly within the garden’s confines. The picture of the brigata as eternally young and perfect, unable to be harmed by anything, including death, confirms their position as the ideal examples of young people, with an idealized relationship between the sexes. This day’s tales also emphasize the primacy of conscientious freedom over excessive decadence on the one hand (represented in the introduction by the people who lost all respect for the rules in the aftermath of the plague) and narrow legalism (represented by overly strict religious and social expectations in the tales) on the other.
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