The Economy and Parody of Matrimony in Boccaccio's Decameron Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Essary, Brandon K.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • Boccaccio focuses significant attention on the institution of marriage throughout his masterpiece, the Decameron. The purpose of the present dissertation is to take a close look at the bond between husband and wife, that of matrimony, which appears in all the frames of the Decameron - description of the plague, the lives of the brigata, and in the ten days devoted to storytelling - and occupies the central fifth day of storytelling in the course of the ten young people's journey outside of Florence. More often than not, the sacred bond of marriage is broken, questioned and even parodied by the brigata. Often, this parody takes on an economic aspect, in which Boccaccio reduces the sacred matrimonial bond - and relationships between men and women in general - to an economic metaphor of exchange. As a result, one may wonder to what extent Boccaccio, who was born out of wedlock and never married, may be willing to question the institution - and even more so, the sacrament - of matrimony. One may also wonder whether Boccaccio intends to probe and question marriage, which, in its manifestations in well over half of the novelle of the work, may be seen as a phenomenon that undermines social order.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Cervigni, Dino S.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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