The Decameron

Dioneo: Narrator of Controversy in the Decameron College

At the beginning of Boccaccio’s Decameron, both the male and female narrators hesitate to discuss the seemingly lewd topic of sexual relations. On Day I, the Florentines discuss various topics, yet only one narrator is brave enough to introduce sex as a theme: Dioneo. This male narrator quickly develops himself as the most daring of the Florentines, happy to push the invisible limits the group has set when it comes to sex. This gives him a particularly important role in the first half of the Decameron as he successfully encourages the other narrators to discuss illegitimate sexual relations. Having accomplished his goals as a narrator and mediator of discussion, Dioneo becomes less controversial and his stories less distinctive in Days VI, VII, and VIII of the Decameron in favor of a presence outside of his stories. Known now as the Decameron’s controversial narrator, it is Dioneo’s actions outside the stories that speak to us more on these days. Nonetheless, his role in the first three days of the Decameron are essential to developing the open discussion of sex and more taboo topics considered lewd in the first day, and to the fascination the ten Florentines have with various sexual illegitimacy.

On Day I, Dioneo immediately...

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