Boccaccio’s The Decameron Essay

837 words - 3 pages


The Decameron, by Boccaccio, is a frame story written in the mid fourteenth century. There are a hundred stories told over a span of ten days. On the second day, a man tells a story about a princess, Alatiel, who was sent away to marry a king. Before Alatiel reaches her destination, she has sexual experiences with a lot of different men. Alatiel is treated like an object and allows this objectification to happen because she is so fickle and does nothing to stop the men. The fickleness of Alatiel and the treatment of her as an object is evident throughout the story.
The story starts off portraying Alatiel as an object when her father, the sultan of Babylon, promises her hand to the king of Algarve (48). Alatiel has no say in who she marries. Instead she is a gift from her father to the king of Algarve. Alatiel goes with Pericone but his brother, Marato wants the princess also. Marato takes Alatiel and “a large part of Pericone’s valuable possessions'; to the ship they are leaving on (52). This sentence implies that Alatiel is one of Pericone’s possessions. Alatiel is treated like property again when she is on the boat. Two men think that her “her love could be shared like merchandise or money'; (52). Once she gets to a new destination the prince of Morea looks “for a way of possessing her'; (53). He doesn’t and can’t win her love because they do not speak the same language. However, this doesn’t stop the prince.
Alatiel doesn’t try very hard to stop any of these men’s advances. She is seen as a weak and fickle woman. When her ship wrecks, “she felt the need of advice'; (49). Alatiel doesn’t know how to do things on her own. She has always had servants to help her. After Alatiel realizes all that happened to the ship and everyone on it she “weeps bitterly'; (49). At this point Alatiel’s unbelievable adventures begin. She is taken to Pericone’s house. Pericone falls in love with her and wants to sleep with her. Alatiel tells her servants that “she herself had decided never to let anyone but her husband enjoy her'; (50). Pericone gets Alatiel drunk and into bed with him. Alatiel’s values aren’t so strong because Pericone gets her to sleep with him. After she loses her virginity “she often invited herself not with words…but with actions'; to Pericone (51). When Alatiel is taken from Pericone by Marato, she...

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