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“To have compassion for those who suffer is a human quality which everyone should possess, especially those who have required comfort themselves in the past and have managed to find it in others.”
This excerpt demonstrates the flavor of the 10 young people's morals. They want to preserve compassion, among other virtues, as the church has preserved them for centuries already. Boccaccio uses his main characters to teach traditional values about lovingkindness and common humanity. This particular moral can be explained in the Golden Rule idea about reciprocation.
"Kissed mouth don't lose its fortune, on the contrary it renews itself just as the moon does."
While many of the women in the party seem comforted by having the men with them, a few seem concerned for the preservation of their sexual purity. This is not to say they feared any violence, but rather that they were uncomfortable around the opposite sex due to lack of experience. These women have devoted their lives to the service of the church previously. One of the stories addresses this very concern among the group by dispelling any negative associations with sexuality.
"No-thing less splendid than a golden sepulchre would have suited so noble a heart."
Boccaccio's mini stories are explorations of heroes and heroins. The characters are often pillars of virtue, like the knights of medieval days. Participating in the cultural movements of his time, Boccaccio chooses to focus upon stories which resemble the hero's journey or the quest. He wants to illustrate how an individual life possesses significance and potential.
"The scholar, as wise as he was full of wrath, knowing that threats only serve as weapons to the person so threatened, kept all his resentment within his own breast. . . "
Each of the 10 young people possess a unique set of gifts. Dioneo, the scholar, understands that he doesn't need to compete with his fellow men. Instead he chooses to hone his skill for the benefit of the entire party. In like fashion, each of the other characters undertake their own transformation for the greater good. They now live in a collective, united behind a common purpose.
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Boccaccio is the master of the meta-narrative. He layers story upon story, interweaving many old tales. As an Italian artist, he participates in the model first laid by Dante in his Divine Comedy. Boccaccio nests his stories within grander...