“The Decameron” written by Giovanni Boccaccio is a collection of one hundred short stories. Carrying the subtitle “Prencipe Galeotto” this collection of short stories is famous for the coarse content. The tales of loves that were seemingly the subject of the stories varied from the tragic to the explicitly erotic. This book is believed the muse for some other great authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer.
The book is written in a style referred to as frame narrative. This is a concept in which a story is written within a story and perhaps within another story. The plot of Boccaccio’s novel is set around the Bubonic Plague and follows through with a description of the experiences of seven young women and three young men who fled from the plague infested city of Florence safe harbor in a villa on the outskirts of the city. “The Decameron” is a representation of the social, physical and psychological effects of the “Black Death.” Some even say that the main focus was on the desire for escape.
Boccaccio had a lot of satire in this work. The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church were heavily ridiculed. This was said to be a reflection of the feeling that people began to have for the church at the time. A further evaluation of this most famous piece of literary work shows that Giovanni suffused numerology and its significance into “The Decameron.” for instance the seven young women are thought to be representations of the three theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues while the three young mean are though to represent the division of the soul according to the classical Greek tripartite. In fact a pint to note is that the names given to the characters were all parallel to these analogies.
The set of novellas took approximately ten years to complete. Apart from being rather lewd tales the also possessed traces of the popular folk tales of that period. “The Decameron” is a book which demonstrates the complexity of the narrative skill of the author Giovanni Boccaccio. It is a wonderful blend of the classical and the romantic.
The set of novellas influence on other authors has been long lasting. It was not only influential in Italy but in other European countries as well such as France. Shakespeare, another well known literary phenomenon was greatly influenced by this book. It is a very influential and timeless piece of literary work.