What is Boccaccio telling people about the Renaissance society in The Decameron?
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Baccaccio did a great job of framing in this novel; storytelling within storytelling. He uses the plague as a symbol for the changes in society as Europe moved from the Middle Ages into the early Renaissance period and help us to envision a new approach to life, one in which people can be a bit more playful and light of heart. A time when people became more humane in their thoughts and considerations of others. The weight of moral conscience was being lifted by an age that would continue to place less and less emphasis on virtues and religion.
Boccaccio targets religious and moral authorities labeling them hypocrites, but he ridicules those riddled by superstition and those displaying gullibility as well. Work is touted as needless, replaced by the belief that value should only be placed in things such as pleasure, beauty, laughter, and play.
Boccaccio's society allows for the mixing of different social levels, and thus the egalitarian society is born. Personal merit is based on the actions of an individual, in addition to character. Birth right and inherited wealth are no longer an issue.