Decameron Essay, Research Paper
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 weeps but is soon comforted with the assistance of the holy Stiff-in-hand God gave to man (52). It doesn t take much to comfort Alatiel. In the beginning of the story she doesn t want to sleep with a man that is not her husband. By the first man Alatiel encounters her views on sex have changed. Alatiel s adventures do not stop after two men. When Marato loses Alatiel the prince of Morea gets her. It doesn t take Alatiel long to get over Marato.
Costanzo eventually gets Alatiel. He too comforts her the same way that many others had, sexually (57). Antioco was the next man to have Alatiel. The two became friends when Costanzo put Alatiel into Antioco s care. Their friendship developed and they enjoyed each other most exquisitely between the sheets (58). Alatiel goes from man to man in this story. It doesn t take her long to adjust to a new situation. Antioco dies and Alatiel lives with his best friend. Alatiel and Antioco s friend soon became intimate (59).
Alatiel eventually sees someone from her home and tells him of her adventures. This man, Antigono decides to help Alatiel. Antigono tells Alatiel everything that she needs to tell her father so that he doesn t find out about her adventures(60). Alatiel is a very fickle girl. She says that she doesn t want to lose her virginity to a man that is not her husband. Her chastity doesn t last.
Throughout the story Alatiel is very fickle minded. The men take advantage of her and treat her as an object. The men call her a possession and treat her as merchandise. They steal her from other men and don t even care what she thinks. Alatiel didn t do anything to try and stop the men. She ended up liking the sexual relations she had with the men. Alatiel is fickle because it did not take her long to get over one man and move on to the next. If Alatiel were not so fickle, all of the men in the story probably wouldn t take advantage of her and treat her like an object. She brings it on herself. Alatiel can t even get herself out of the situation she got herself into. Antigono tells her what to say and she memorizes it all. Alatiel also didn t realize how much she would like having sexual relations with men and this new pleasure allows her to be consoled very easily. The man telling this story may have made Alatiel seem weaker than if a woman were telling this story.