Boccaccio starts his narration of Decameron with a realistic eyewitness account of the Plague that haunted people of his age and dragged them to death. Plague was also called Black Death. Boccaccio used realistic narration of the epidemic and elongated the account enough…
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the real account of plague to set a scene for seven ladies between the ages of eighteen and twenty eight and men over the ages of twenty five to unite away from Florence to lead their remaining lives in pleasure and happiness.
Florence suffered through plague that killed the dwellers of the place at a tragic extent. The epidemic not only brought inevitable death to people, but also took away the emotional and social relationships from the people. They did not hold anyone dear to them whether he or she was related to them in any sense. Boccaccio writes,
“This disaster had struck such fear into the hearts of men and women that brother abandoned brother, uncle abandoned nephew, sister left brother, and very often wife abandoned husband, and -- even worse, almost unbelievable -- fathers and mothers neglected to tend and care for their children, as if they were not their own.” (Bondanella and Musa 68)
Inevitability of death became clear to everyone and people started living their lives as per their will and wish. All people were affected because of epidemic whether they were old or young, rich or poor, master or slave. People were not worried about their properties and possessions. Some shut them inside their houses, some started to live as vagrants, some indulged in all kinds of legal and illegal pleasures while many others left Florence in order to hide from death. Boccaccio was able to put forward his fictional accounts while taking support of real time situation that hit many cities. It was plague that allowed people to enjoy liberty and free will and without such setting, the living of noble young ladies and men with each other without social bounds was unimaginable.
2-Summarize the story of Saladin, Melchisedec, and the 3 Rings. What is Boccaccio’s overall message to his audience? Why is it significant that the main characters are a Muslim and a Jew and that Boccaccio’s Italian readers were almost entirely Christian? Don’t forget to summarize the 3
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