The main work of Boccaccio "The Decameron" was conceived in 1348 and created in 1351-1353. The name of the book is of Greek origin, in translation - "tenth", i.e. "A collection of short stories with a frame." Such a composition has already become a tradition in literature, it is enough to recall the eastern "One Thousand and One Nights", the Italian collection of the border of the XIII and XIV centuries "Novelino". Boccaccio also became an innovator of this form, as he subordinated it to the law of the "Gothic vertical" (from low to high), appropriately placing novels. It is the notion of a low and high author of "Decameron" who interpreted from humanistic positions, so that the novels themselves and the way of their composition acquired a humanistic tendency. Boccaccio drew plots from various sources: ancient legends, medieval retellings, courteous novels, urban fabliaux, but more often - contemporary writer's anecdotes and real cases of life.
The narratives are systematized: satiricals first, then adventurous ones with picaresque but generally attractive characters, and final novels about human nobility, where the characters are clearly idealized.
The idea of "The Decameron" is indicated by the influence of Dante: if you recall that in the "Divine Comedy" exactly one hundred songs and episodes are also built on the principle of the Gothic vertical, from low to high, from the sinners "Hell" to the saints "Paradise", the similarity of both compositions becomes obvious. Yes, and the concept of peace was also harmonious - good and evil in the world equally, while evil is beneath, and the good belongs to you, which to some extent personified the future itself. Boccaccio's innovation was that he transferred the Dantean composition of outer space solely to the earthly one, completely removing the images of devils and angels and refusing to depict an allegorical image of life. The universality of the "The Decameron" is satisfied only by terrestrial space. Framing the narrative does not immediately state about the new humanistic principles of aesthetic depiction of reality.
The pictured plague in Florence in 1347 is a description from the eyes of an eyewitness. The story is condensed in a specific artistic time - a modern writer close to the writer. At the same time, the novel has also conventions, in it the destiny general and destiny individual: in " plague " city nevertheless there are God's temples, cells of culture and mercy, and in one of them, in church of Santa Maria, there are seven young beautiful women - Pampina, Fiametta, Filomena, Neifil, Emilia, Lauretta, Eliza. Over time, there are three noble young men: Panfilo, Filostrato and Dioneo.
Young people conspire to leave Florence and wait for the cholera to leave in one of the country villas. Their very time spending is a model of a new, humanistic communication, cultural leisure, brightened by the indifference of young people, which, nevertheless, never turns into courteous courtship and does not provide for a serious passion. Novella-Framing remains static in this plan, its function is to embrace all other novels with which it relates as the ideal with the real, the conditional with the concrete. And yet, the inner composition of the framing novel is the contrast between chaos as the most terrible life phenomenon and harmonious human personality, represented by ten narrators.
In "The Decameron" the problems are universal and, at the same time, social. The first narrative of the first day begins with the words: "The people tell about Mushatte Franzesi, how he became a knight from a significant and rich merchant and had to go to Tuscany's appeal to Pope Boniface ..." Before the reader, the specific features of the era when merchants reigned and reached noble titles, but in the future, it will not be about the rich Franzesi, but about the poor notary Shapeleto, the scoundrel who is the embodiment of all possible human shortcomings. In spite of everything, Shapeteto not only finds a patron in the life of the Earth in the person of the richest merchant Franzesi, but even after death manages to get to the saints whose relics are worshiped by the parishioners. Boccaccio does not only depict a scoundrel-criminal, by nature cruel and evil, but also his social hypostasis: a lawyer, over time due to terrible lies and death confession - even a saint. Boccaccio creates a "portrait in the social interior", showing the emergence of a false authority.
In the image of Shapeteto are outlined the features of Tartuffe's future, this is an image of a great generalization. Boccaccio’s satire is directed against many of the statuses of feudalism: noble privilege, brutal violence of rulers, autocracy and self-will. The anti-clerical satire in the "Decameron" is primarily directed against religious asceticism. Boccaccio willingly forgives sins to young nuns, who cunningly circumvent the monastic prohibitions, but cruelly ridicules the hypocritical old sinners.
With obvious sympathy he depicts episodes of earthly love, where he always unites the carnal and spiritual, and never acts only as a carnal instinct. To the natural beginning Boccaccio opposes the unnatural laws of society, church asceticism and prohibitions of a host character.
One of the best entries in "The Decameron" is the first novella of the fourth day about Prince Tankred of Salerno, who killed the lover of his daughter Gismond and presented her in the golden cup with the beloved's heart. Tankred was not cruel by nature, but ambitious in matters of honor, could not tolerate the fact that his daughter fell in love with a simple servant Guiscardo and descended to a secret connection. Prince Tankred wanted to shame his daughter, but it was she who shamed the old father, explaining to him that Guiscardo was a noble and worthy person, since "poverty does not take away nobility, only wealth." And although Gismond and Guiscardo were not equal in social status, their love was equal.After the death of his beloved Gismond dies of grief in front of a stunned father.
Also noteworthy is a short story about Griselde (tenth novel of the tenth day), devoted to examples of human nobility. In the composition of "Decameron" Griselda occupies the same honorable place as in the Dantean "Paradise" saints who sit at the throne of the Virgin Mary. The researchers claim that Griselda was a real person and the events of the novel have some real subsoil. Boccaccio gave them a humanistic tendentiousness. The Marquis of Saluzzo repeatedly subjected his wife to severe trials, urging her to kill their newborn daughter and then their son, since they are of plebeian origin.
In fact he did not kill his children, but only gave them up for education to his noble brother-in-law. In conclusion, the Marquis came up with a new test: he drove Griselda to his father, announcing that he was marrying another. Respecting Griselda's master talents, he ordered her to prepare a wedding banquet and wait at the wedding table. Griselda did everything with resignation and dignity inherent only in extraordinary natures, and only after that Marquis Saluzzo apologized to his wife, returned her to his house and gave both children. From that time his life with his wife was cloudless. In this novel the author contrasts two types of nobility: the nobility of origin and the nobility of the soul, the moral highness of Griselda over the Marquis of Saluzzo is undoubtedly.
Problems of all levels of society are opened in “The Decameron”; here, the author does his best to reveal that humanity should lve by the laws of heart, honesty and love.