The Decameron

Religion and Deception in Boccaccio’s The Decameron College

The word “faith” in reference to religion emphasizes the uncertain nature of religion. By definition, if one is religious, they must trust and take a leap of faith to come to a conclusion about their gods, spirits, or idols. Faith is predicated upon the notion that there may never be undeniable proof about a certain religious figure or idea. Rather, one must believe regardless of shaky or nonexistent evidence. One must trust their religious institutions, the word of those with religious authority, or the experiences of those deemed to be trustworthy. This an idea the Boccaccio explores, tests, and violates his book, The Decameron, influenced by literature’s movement towards secular realism. When it came to religion, people especially in the time which Boccaccio wrote, had the reflex to believe rather than refute. Through the secular lens of Boccaccio, it is clear to see that this reflex sets people up for deceit. This theme that religion causes susceptibility to delusion can be best seen in key stories of the Decameron: the story about Saint Ciappelletto and the story about Friar Alberto.

In The Decameron, after the group of travelers have gotten settled as they flee the plague that has infected Florence, they begin to tell...

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