Free Essay

Women in Boccaccio

In: Historical Events

Submitted By beddytear
Words 1766
Pages 8
The Decameron and the Rule of Saint.Benedict Beginning from the 10th century, the religion of Christianity in Europe was fragmented and localized, as well as in the secular sphere. The Church was in a state of weakness and disorder with rural popes supported by competing nobles, the Abbot of Cluny felt the need to revitalize the church by adhering to the Rule of St. Benedict. The Rule was meant to foster an understanding of the relation nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual support to strengthen the individual’s ascetic effort and growth that is required for the fulfillment of the theosis. Despite crises happening constantly during the long existence of the Rule, the Benedictines have not been immune to periods of laxity and decline. In the fourth story of Day One in the Decameron, Boccaccio uncovers the negligent of monasticism in the late middle ages through a witty sexual story took place within a monastery. Using great details in the tale, Boccaccio tries to claim the unfeasible practice of monasticism, as well as the viability of the Christian church in the later middle ages. This tale is about the monastic life under the governing of the Rule of St.Benedict. In the context, the ecclesiastical characters attempt to break the Rule for the sake of their body. The monk uses his wit to free his body rests on the assumption that the freedom and pleasure of the body are good, and that the physical vigour of the young monk is very good. This is particularly significant to the tale because the monastic Rule of St. Benedict expressly denied the monk power over his own body. The physical and temporal setting of the tale prepares and frames the emphasis on the physical body and its carnal appetites. Setting off at the time around noon, when the weariness of physicality, hinders the action of the spirit, it creates a quintessential scene of sensual temptation. The young monk sees the girl on the excursion outside of the monastery walls incites an allegorical implications. His walk in the afternoon breaches the Rule of St. Benedict that he lives by as it dims the distinction between the monastery and the outside world . Bringing the girl back to the monastery, the monk enacts the entry of the female into the body, as well as his spirit. He is seized by the the fierce appetite of lust while stimulated by the afternoon heat, by the idyllic background of fields and woods and also the beauty of the young girl. Again, the structure of the monastery is an imagery of the body: the monk’s portrays the secret inner chamber of the heart. As the girl is brought first into the monastery and then into the cell, it reminds us that both of the monastery structure and human body are open to the outside world. To portrays the fleshly nature of the monks, Boccaccio emphasizes with particular frequency of sight in this tale. When the monk sees the girl, “he was fiercely assailed by carnal desire”. (Boccaccio, 45) The abbot, too, looks at the girl with vehemence. This echoes the monk’s envision of the final placement of the girl on top of the abbot. The abbot’s pause before the doors of the cell where he detects a woman inside, and his return and entrance therein stage the moral debate within the abbot’s soul. The action of approaching the cell can be seen as the abbot approaches the hidden thoughts of his mind. Besides visual emphasis , Boccaccio also utilizes audio to galvanize the tale. The passage where the abbot listen to the voices coming from inside the room about the “racket that the pair were creating.” (Boccaccio, 45) It exemplifies an audible seduction to the abbot who sneak up on and eavesdrops the voices, to listen more closely, to a woman. The abbot is very tempted with the desire to enter the room as the first moment of his response is to impulse to enter and witness or perhaps to join in the activity within. There is not any evidence later in the context that his thought to discipline this monk. Perhaps he simply wants to enter and see the female. Moreover, the voice that the abbot responded to his inner thought again proclaimed his initial motions of curiosity and excitement of woman. The temptation of the abbot takes place precisely at the door as it signifies the entrance way to the heart and to his carnal desire. The monk introduces the woman into the enclosed space of the monastery. Yet for the abbot, the woman that was being locked up in the cell is an allegory of the desire that has been lurking inside the chamber of his heart. He gives in and enter the cell is another sign to assent the desire possessed by the woman and by his body. However, the entrance is not entirely his own idea. It is carefully foreseen and planned by his minor monk. Boccaccio does not purposely contemplate the weakening of the religious orders during the period, In this tale, the images of body, the female, the visuals, the sounds presents the younger and minor monk is a more perceptive shrewder. He is just mentally more agile than his superior. Regardless, the tale portrays a triumph of the flesh, of carnal lust that fiercely attacks and overwhelms both monk and abbot immediately as they gaze upon the girl. The roles of monk and abbot are reserved in this tale. The monk is better informed than his teacher about the desires of the flesh that he proves to be the wiser man. Being trapped in a difficult spot because of his runaway lust, the monk is able to secure his freedom with a well-designed plan that defeats the abbot’s own scheme to investigate the matter of the girl in the cell. It is by being capable of imagining the goal of his plan in advance, and foreseeing the reactions of the abbot, that the monk can mentally circumscribe and defeat the abbot. The abbot hesitates his intention, that he bends when tried by temptation, that he got trapped by the wiser monk. It constitutes a kind of turning upside down of the hierarchy that was meant to obtain in a monastic community, where the abbot has the status of both ruler and father like many other ecclesiastical authority. Since the beginning of the tale, we have seen the violation of the Rule of St. Benedict as again in the opening scene when the monk is found wandering alone outside the monastery. Later in the tale, when he left from his cell, it was explicitly mentioned that he presented the key to the abbot and requested permission to leave the monastery. Here, the key can be seen as a reference to the Rule of St. Benedict. The action of surrendering the key was an escape from temptation and sin that the monk has committed. The Rule itself allegorized the margin of pleasure and sin as “for Scripture tells: turn away from (our) desire.” (Fry, 33) At the same time, the presentation of the key to the abbot begins the monk’s conscious manipulation of the abbot. in exchange for the dubious licence to exit the monastery, the monk confers with his key for the abbot to open the door of his lust. The key therefore is a code both for allusion to the Rule and its violation where the human flesh is tempted. Furthermore, the monk’s allusion to the Rule was revealed at the final scene of the tale when he responds to the abbot’s sentence of confinement, speaking in his own defence:
[the monk promptly answered: ‘Sir, I have not yet been long enough in the Order of Saint Benedict to have had chance of acquainting myself with all its special features, and you had failed until just now to show me that monks have women to support, as well as fasts, and vigils. But now that you have pointed this out, I promised that if you will forgive me just this once, I will never again commit the same error. On the contrary, I shall always follow your good example.] (Boccaccio, 48)
He points to the abbot’s defeat by the flesh, signified by his submission to the temptation of the girl, and he lets the abbot know that he knows it. He points to the abbot hypocrisy with a glancing allusion to the woman who has taken in adultery. Predominantly, the monk invokes the Rule of Saint Benedict that the abbot is to teach the monks by demonstration and words. Implicating to the Rule of St. Benedict, “abbot is to lead his disciples by a twofold teaching: he must point out to them all that is good and holy more by example than by words…” (Fry, 22) The charge to the abbot serves as an example to his monks by what they see him do, is the converse of the principle, also explicit in the Rule of the Saint Benedict, that God and the abbot see and know what the monks are doing all the time. The monk sees the failure of his abbot and the desire of the flesh in his heart. It is commanded in the Rule that the monk is to confess the hidden things in his heart to his abbot: “[that] a man does not conceal from his abbot any sinful thoughts entering his heart, or any wrongs committed in secret, but rather confesses them humbly.” (Fry, 36) It is a different episode in this tale when the monk did not confess his sin to the ecclesiastical superior than just handing him over with the key of his cell. Also, the abbot reveals and explains his sinful thought to the girl before gratifying his fleshly cravings. By placing the altercation of flesh and spirit, the Rule of Saint Benedict reintroduced prohibitions in the society through monastic restrictions and sexual license that would revive the religion of Christianity in a sense back to the apostolic age. It was clear in the Rule of St. Benedict that routines were initiated by requiring voluntary submission to an ecclesiastical hierarchy, adopting fixed hours for meals and duties. As the monastery, under the narration of Boccaccio, exists in tension with the depraved secular world which hinders the revival of Christianity from the previous episodes of crisis within the Church.

Work Cited

Boccaccio, Giovanni Decameron: First Day. PDF File
Fry, Timothy. "Humility." RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1982. Print.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay


...emotional wellbeing. Argument 3: Is the King really unethical in disregarding his wife in the whole matter? * Gender differences: Then vs. Now—are ethics/moral standards timeless or do they change with time? [Is this something that Boccaccio intended to be an issue at the time of Decameron’s writing?] The fact that the Queen has no inclination that her first lover that night is the groom and not the King himself addresses another aspect to be considered in the overall schema of interpreting and concluding moral judgment on this story. Perhaps this speaks volumes about the relationship between the King and herself—the fact that she cannot even differentiate between the two lovers, one of which is her husband, suggests that their relationship is not so intimate (167). Furthermore, the culture of the middle ages (assuming that’s when this story dates to) is one of male dominance. Perhaps in this era, it was commonplace for women to be regarded in this fashion by the men in their lives. It’s arguable that a man’s honor may be more important than any woman entirely, and the King’s course of action in this situation was appropriate for the time period. Therefore, are we in the right to question the ethical standing of the King’s behavior? Perhaps Boccaccio did not even intend for gender dominance to be an issue, as it was widely accepted in his day as is. *Argument 4: How does the interpretation reflect what the reader believes? * What does a reader’s reading of the......

Words: 1372 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Black Death

...making itself known as lymph nodes swell, most commonly in the groin area and armpits. “Subcutaneous hemorrhaging occurs, causing purplish patches on the skin to appear.”[7] The third form, septicemic, affects the circulatory system. When a flea, or even a rat infected with bacteria causing the plague, bit a human, some bacteria could enter directly into the bloodstream. So many perished that survivors could not keep up with burials. Though no one was exempt from the plague, the peasantry was more susceptible. Young children, the elderly, the sickly, and the undernourished were the hardest hit.[8] (Zophy 31) Many who had been healthy a number of days before would be dead within two to three days of contracting the plague. Giovanni Boccaccio alive during the era of the Black Death, records a first-hand account, entitled The Decameron, of the signs and symptoms of the plague. He writes: “Anyone in the eastern countries afflicted with the ailment would show signs of inevitable death. It began either under the armpits or in the groin with certain swellings, in some to the bigness of an apple in others like an egg. In very short time after, the deadly boils would spread to all parts of the body; whereupon the disease showed itself by black or blue spots which would appear on the arms of man, or on their thighs, and every part of the body-in some, great and few, in others, small and thick. Now, as the boil at the beginning was an assured sign of near approaching death, so......

Words: 2275 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Boccacio Tales

...Boccacio’s greatest characters? Compare and contrast their differing problems in choosing whom they wish to love. In what ways are they right or wrong in the choices they make? Why does Bocaccio dedicate the “Decameron” to women? How does this dedication relate to his theme of compassion at the beginning of the book? Explain and quote directly from the “Decameron” Ghismunda and Madonna Filippa are considered to be Boccaccio’s greatest characters because they are the characters who stand up for themselves boldly, They go against the societal norms and defy odds so as to stand for what they believe in. Also, their stories captivate people such that for instance the tale of Ghismunda and Tancredi is translated into so many languages like Latin severally and Italian among others because it appeals to people’s emotions greatly. These two stories are similar in a number of ways. Both Ghismunda and Madonna Filippa stand up for themselves. Nobody would stand up for them and they both brave up and speak up to defend themselves. Moreover, they both stand up to defend their love. Filippa Madonna is accused of adultery and she is encourage to plead innocent but she boldly pleads guilty and even goes ahead to speak against the cruelty that the society has on women. She sees it unfair for all the blame to be put on the woman yet even the man in adultery and the husband of the adulterer could be at fault. She explains that, “…Sir, it is true that Rinaldo is my husband, and that......

Words: 1487 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

The Knight Tale

...The Knight's Tale The Knight’s Tale (I) The Knight begins his tale with the story of Theseus, a prince, who married Hippolyta, the queen of Scythia, and brought her and her sister, Emelye, back to Athens with him after conquering her kingdom of Amazons. When Theseus returned home victorious, he became aware of a company of women clad in black who knelt at the side of the highway, shrieking. The oldest of the women asked Theseus for pity. She told him that she was once the wife of King Cappaneus who was destroyed at Thebes, and that all of the other women lost their husbands. Creon, the lord of the town, had simply tossed the dead bodies of the soldiers in a single pile and refused to burn or bury them. Theseus swore vengeance upon Creon, and immediately ordered his armies toward Thebes. Theseus vanquished Creon, and when the soldiers were disposing of the bodies they found two young knights, Arcite and Palamon, two royal cousins, not quite dead. Theseus ordered that they be imprisoned in Athens for life. They passed their time imprisoned in a tower in Athens until they saw Emelye in a nearby garden. Both fell immediately in love with her. Palamon compared her to Venus, and prayed escape from the prison; similarly, Arcite claimed that he would rather be dead than not have Emelye. The two fight over her, each calling the other a traitor. This happened on a day in which Pirithous, a prince and childhood friend of Theseus, had come to Athens. Pirithous had known Arcite at......

Words: 1689 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Examination of 20th Centruy Italian Literature

...ideology, commitment, tradition vs. innovation, the status of the signifier, the question of gender, etc.) A theme (e.g., passion, time and memory, silence, desire, nature, community, male-female relationships, authority, class conflict, war, the representation of the self, etc.) • Each category must contain at least five texts, spanning at least three centuries. Some texts may occupy more than one category, so long as each category contains five texts that do not. • Dante's Divina Commedia must be on every student's list. EXAMPLE A: Genre: Comedy. Dante, Divina Commedia; Lorenzo de Medici, La Nencia da Barberino; Machiavelli, La mandragola; Goldoni, La locandiera; Dario Fo, Le commedie (selections) Critical Problem: What is realism? Boccaccio, Il Decamerone; Vico, La scienza nuova; Manzoni, I promessi sposi; Verga, I Malavoglia; Serao, Il paesa di cuccagna; Pirandello, Il fu Mattia Pascal; Aleramo, Una donna; Deledda, Marianna Sirca; Fenoglio, Il partigiano Johnny. Theme: Passion. Cavalcanti, poesie, Ariosto, Orlando Furioso; Tasso, Aminta; Torquato Accetto, Della dissimulazione onesta; Alfieri, Mirra; Leopardi, Canti; Neera, Teresa; D'Annunzio, Forse che sì forse che no; Marinetti, Teoria e invenzione futurista (selections); Pasolini, Le ceneri di Gramsci; Gruppo 63, I novissimi; Amelia Rosselli, Variazioni belliche EXAMPLE B: Genre: The Novel. Foscolo, Ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis; Manzoni, I promessi sposi; Verga, I Malavoglia; Neera, Teresa; Deledda, Canne al......

Words: 1574 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Black Death

...the smell of their bodies defiled." (The Decameron of Boccaccio, Italy 1313-1375). This period have been recorded for posterity, literary works such as Boccaccio's Decameron and Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, whose embodied in their work the feel of society in those times. The man of those times, in a necessary effort to avoid the plague, was concerned to seek solutions for it. The first reaction to defense was obviously to stay away from the sick person or put the sick away. This will place the "quarantine ", which provides healthcare process forty days as time period of observation to determine the presence or absence of disease. The city authorities established "quarantine stations, especially at the entrances of cities where travelers wishing to enter had to wait 40 days for observation to see that he was not sick. It also emphasizes the fact that there were places where the plague did not attack, then blaming subsequently, and in some cases to the predominant blood type in the inhabitants of the area. On the other hand in Milan where the plague did not develop, it is said that, the bishop at that time, walled up walled up with the bodies inside the family home where the disease first manifested. Burning of Jews during the Black Death. 1349. The cause of the calamity was attributed to evil forces and supernatural punishment from God. Death was around everywhere, killing without favoritisms, men, women, poor or rich, the lofty wanted to blame the......

Words: 1901 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

The Book of the Courtier

...Principles 2 Reception 3 Rhetoric 4 See also 5 Sources 6 Notes [edit] PrinciplesThe book is organized as a series of fictional conversations that occur between the courtiers of the Duke of Urbino in 1507 (when Baldassare was in fact part of the Duke's Court). In the book, the courtier is described as having a cool mind, a good voice (with beautiful, elegant and brave words) along with proper bearing and gestures. At the same time though, the courtier is expected to have a warrior spirit, to be athletic, and have good knowledge of the humanities, Classics and fine arts. Over the course of four evenings, members of the court try to describe the perfect gentleman of the court. In the process they debate the nature of nobility, humor, women, and love. [edit] ReceptionThe Book of the Courtier was one of the most widely distributed books of the 16th century, with editions printed in six languages and in twenty European centers.[1] The 1561 English translation by Thomas Hoby had a great influence on the English upper class's conception of English gentlemen.[2] [edit] RhetoricOf the many qualities Castiglione’s characters attribute to their perfect courtier, oratory and the manner in which courtier presents himself while speaking is amongst one of the most highly discussed. Wayne Rebhorn, a Castiglione scholar, states that the courtier’s speech and behavior in general is “designed to make people marvel at him, to transform himself into a beautiful spectacle for......

Words: 1798 - Pages: 8

Free Essay


...husbands were old men whom she would hector into providing for her, using guilt and refusal of sexual favors. However, the final two husbands were younger men, more difficult to handle. The final husband, Jankin, was a twenty-year-old, half the Wife of Bath's age. He was more trouble, as he refused to let the Wife of Bath dominate him and often read literature that proposed that women be submissive. When she tore a page out of one of his books, Jankin struck her, causing her to be deaf in one ear. However, he felt so guilty at his actions that from that point in the marriage, he was totally submissive to her and the two remained happy. The Wife of Bath's Tale is itself a story of marriage dynamic. It tells the tale of a knight who, as punishment for raping a young woman, is sentenced to death. However, he is spared by the queen, who will grant him freedom if he can answer the question "what do women want?" The knight cannot find a satisfactory answer until he meets an old crone, who promises to tell him the answer if he marries her. He agrees, and receives his freedom when he tells the queen that women want sovereignty over their husbands. However, the knight is dissatisfied that he must marry the old, low-born hag. She therefore tells him that he can have her as a wife either old and ugly yet submissive, or young and beautiful yet dominant. He chooses to have her as a young woman, and although she had authority in marriage the two were completely happy from that......

Words: 5192 - Pages: 21

Premium Essay

Age of Discovery

...Pizan – One of the first European writeres to question different treatment of boys and girls. She was highly educated for her time and one of the first women to earn a living as a writer. She produced many books and manual son military techniques. Desiderius Erasmus – A Christian humanist who wrote his most famous work The Praise of Folly. Erasmus believed in Christianity from the heart, not one of ceremonies or rulers. He thought that in order to improve society, all must read the Bible. Edward VI – The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, he became King when he was nine years old. Too young to rule alone, so he was guided by adult advisors and only reigned for just six years Elizabeth I – The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she became Queen after Mary died. Elizabeth spread Anglican and had tolerance for dissenters, the dissenters had to put the loyalty of the Queen and England before religion. She started expanding and colonizing new territory. In 1588 she was victorious over the Spanish Armada and defeated King Phillip II. Elizabeth ruled for 43 year, becoming the greatest monarchs of all time. Francesco Petrarch – The father of Humanism, he was considered the first humanist. Francesco was a scholar and wrote sonnets and poetry, he also made Greek and Roman literature available for other scholars. Giovanni Boccaccio – An Italian writter who is best known for the Decameron, a series of realistic, sometimes off-color stories. The stories are supposedly told......

Words: 2852 - Pages: 12

Free Essay

Characterisics of Mediealism

...Virtues • Physiognomy and "The Humours" • Values of "courtly love" • The Code of Chivalry(CF) The Poets and Authors: Caedmon: First English poet; author of "The Dream of the Holy Rood." Venerable Bede: wrote the Ecclesiastical History of England and the scientific treatise, De Natura Rerum. Geoffrey Chaucer: Famous Medieval author of the Canterbury Tales. Margery Kempe: Author of the first autobiography in English. John Gower: Medieval poet and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer Francesco Petrarch: Italian poet, and a humanist. Famous for his poems addressed to Laura. Dante: Medieval poet and politician. Christine de Pizan: Medieval author and feminist. William Longland: English poet who wrote the Vision of Piers Plowman. Boccaccio: Italian writer who was famous for writing the Decameron. Raphael Holinshed: Medieval author of Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland. (KM) Romance: • Chivalry was the reason behind this type of literature. • The greatest English example of the romance is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. • The romance hero-who often has the help of magic-undertakes a quest to conquer an evil enemy. (KM) Chivalry: • A system of ideals and social codes governing the behavior of knights and gentlewoman. • The rules included: taking an oath of loyalty to the overlord and observing certain rules of warfare. • Adoring a particular lady was seen as a means of self-improvement. (KM) Courtly......

Words: 2932 - Pages: 12

Free Essay


...sanitation, which created difficulties in containing the spread of the disease. Four waves of bubonic plague spread throughout Europe between 1347 and 1375, infecting some European cities several times and nearly wiping out their entire populations. The virulence of the plague and the mood of mounting hopelessness horrified the Florentine writer Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). In his preface to the Decameron, (a collection of tales told by ten young people who abandoned plague-ridden Florence for the safety of a country estate), Boccaccio described the physical conditions of the plague, as well as its psychological consequences. He recorded with dark precision how 5 WESTERN CIVILIZATIONS widespread death had forced Florentine citizens to abandon the traditional forms of grieving and the rituals associated with death and burial. The stirring vernacular (dialect) prose captured the mood of dread (fear-terror) that prevailed in Florence, as people fled their cities, homes, and even their families. “So many bodies were brought to the churches every day that the consecrated ground did not suffice to hold them...” The Decameron- Boccaccio The Effects of the Black Death Those who survived the plague tried to understand and explain its meaning and purpose. Some viewed it as the manifestation of God’s displeasure with the growing materialism of contemporary society, while others saw it as a divine warning to all Christians, especially to the clergy whose luxurious......

Words: 16933 - Pages: 68

Free Essay

Old English Literature

...Gesta romanorum) displaced the Germanic heroic legends. * The romances were written in the French verse: rhyme, stanza form, metrical feet - i.e. with alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. * The subject matter: the virtues of chivalry, warlike * courage, true courtesy, honour and ideal knighthood in the service of the Christian faith and of the lady. * women, love, and praise of women occupy a dominant position * The 13th century - the beginning of Parliament. * The ideal of a parliament - a council of regency ruled on behalf of a child king not yet able to govern in his own right. * Edward I - representatives in Parliament were needed to give consent to taxation * the wars against the Welsh, French, and Scots * The 14th century - the age of war and plague. * England and France, conflicts from 1337 onward were called the Hundred Years' War. * In 13 81 the Peasants' Revolt * the Bible was translated into English * The Black Death struck in 1348-49 * the increasing use of English Geoffrey Chaucer • Influence of Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante • independence of the tradition he respected • Canterbury Tales (1390s) • A group of 30 pilgrims at the Tabard Inn • storytelling contest • shrine of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury • the full plan for his book was not completed • 120 tales - 22 tales + 2 uncompleted • a unified book, not a collection of unfinished fragments • Knight, prioress, monk •......

Words: 9579 - Pages: 39

Free Essay

Joseph Andrews

...The term ‘roman or romance’ linked fictions back to the histories that had appeared in the Romance language of 11th and 12th-century southern France. The typical Arthurian romance became a fashion in the late 12th century. The unexpected and peculiar adventures surprised the audience in romances like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 1380).The romance had become a stable generic term by the beginning of the 13th century, as in the Roman de la Rose (c. 1230), famous today in English through Geoffrey Chaucer's late 14th-century translation. Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (1380–87) is a late example of this European fashion. Prose narrators wrote narrative patterns as employed in fairy tales and with complex plot structures, the work of Boccaccio and Chaucer share this model of construction with modern jokes, In the 14th and 15th centuries when prose legends became fashionable among the female urban elite, prose became the medium of the urban commercial book market in the 15th century. But the world of these romances had not much affinity with the actual world. In the epic the writer reveals the basic truth of human nature and human life. In the course of the 18th century, the reviewing of fiction changed the situation for the fictional work. When the first novelists began writing what were later called novels, they thought they were writing about human life and human nature with fiction or romance like Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding attempted was......

Words: 6118 - Pages: 25

Premium Essay

The Two Gentlemen of Verona she can travel without being accosted by any "lascivious men" who would try to ravish her. Julia gets gussied up in a pair of "breeches" (pants) and a fancy codpiece (what amounts to a decorative jockstrap) and heads to Milan, where she discovers her beloved Proteus…hitting on Silvia. While this is happening, our boy Valentine is riding through a forest somewhere between Milan and Mantua when a band of outlaws pounce on him. Valentine lies about having killed a man and the outlaws are totally impressed. They decide he should be the Robin Hood to their band of merry thieves, so they invite him to be the leader of their forest dwelling gang. Valentine agrees to live with them in the forest but makes them promise not to hurt any "silly women" or helpless travelers. Back in Milan, Julia is calling herself "Sebastian" and has landed a job as Proteus's errand boy. (Apparently, Julia wants to size up the competition in secret.) When Proteus sends "Sebastian" to deliver a ring to Silvia, "Sebastian" and Silvia get to talking. Silvia refuses to take the ring because she knows it once belonged to Julia. Julia admits to the audience that this is a good thing because she would have "scratched out" Silvia's eyes if she wasn't such a nice person. Silvia is still in love with banished Valentine, so she convinces her good friend Eglamour to help her find him – the two run off to the forest, where Silvia is kidnapped by the outlaws, who proceed to take her to their leader,......

Words: 11043 - Pages: 45

Premium Essay


...Ulster, which meant that Geoffrey was not required to follow in his ancestors’ footsteps and become a merchant. Eventually, Chaucer began to serve the countess’s husband, Prince Lionel, son to King Edward III. For most of his life, Chaucer served in the Hundred Years War between England and France, both as a soldier and, since he was fluent in French and Italian and conversant in Latin and other tongues, as a diplomat. His diplomatic travels brought him twice to Italy, where he might have met Boccaccio, whose writing influenced Chaucer’s work, and Petrarch. In or around 1378, Chaucer began to develop his vision of an English poetry that would be linguistically accessible to all—obedient neither to the court, whose official language was French, nor to the Church, whose official language was Latin. Instead, Chaucer wrote in the vernacular, the English that was spoken in and around London in his day. Undoubtedly, he was influenced by the writings of the Florentines Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, who wrote in the Italian vernacular. Even in England, the practice was becoming increasingly common among poets, although many were still writing in French and Latin. That the nobles and kings Chaucer served (Richard II until 1399, then Henry IV) were impressed with Chaucer’s skills as a negotiator is obvious from the many rewards he received for his service. Money, provisions, higher appointments, and property eventually allowed him to retire on a royal pension. In 1374, the king......

Words: 25904 - Pages: 104