Italian Modern Literature
Boccaccio : Question 2
The theme of sex, sexual activity, and gender relations seem to be intrinsically related to the sphere of women in the stories contained in the Decameron. Boccaccio claims to of been writing for the enjoyment of women, and yet the stories present a pretty wide spectrum of attitudes and situations. The author's attitudes towards both women and the sexual urge are woven throughout the stories written in the Decameron and are a big part of the storyline in the tales told each of the ten nights. Boccaccio focused on the naturalness of sex by combining and interlacing sexual experiences with nature. By weaving them the way he does, Boccaccio permanently places sex into the world of nature by making it seem normal (III 5).
In the time and place that Boccaccio's Decameron is set in, woman are of much less stature than men and have many less freedoms. As with most societies until relatively recently in history, women were not allowed to have a significant role in society, other than that of a wife and mother. In The Decameron, Boccaccio illustrates that while may not having much in terms of social standing, women do have an upper hand in most aspects of the female-male dynamic. Although the one hundred stories deal with an array of topics, when Boccaccio compares men and women, it is apparent he favors women as the better sex in terms of both what is good and what is evil When examining stories where Boccaccio details male-female relationships, it is evident that women are stronger, more lustful, and cunning. Additionally, in the times when the male character in the story appears to triumph over the woman, men usually achieve victory through underhanded and dishonest means. Overall, it is fair to say that Boccaccio does portray women as outshining men in many respects−some positive, and some negative.
Boccaccio portrays women in The Decameron as being much tougher than men. He...