Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronFifth Day Fifth Eighth Stories Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron | Fifth Day, Fifth–Eighth Stories | Summary



Fifth Day, Fifth Story

Neifile narrates. Giacomino da Pavia raises his friend's 10-year-old ward, Agnesa. She grows up to be very beautiful. Two men, Giannole and Minghino, fall in love with her. When they both try to kidnap her, they are thwarted, but Giacomino reveals Agnesa's origins. She was found in an abandoned house when she was two years old. It turns out the house belonged to Bernabuccio, whose daughter had been lost at that time. She has a scar that identifies her as his missing daughter, which simplifies the question of whom she will marry. Giannole is her brother, so Agnesa marries Minghino.

Fifth Day, Sixth Story

Pampinea tells this story. Restituta and Gianni are in love. One day, Sicilian pirates kidnap Restituta. She is presented to the king of Sicily as a gift. Gianni goes to rescue her, only to have the king catch them in her bedroom the following morning. The king orders them to be burned at the stake. Before they can be burned, the admiral recognizes them and tells the king they are the children of his greatest supporters. The king orders their release, marries them, and sends them home.

Fifth Day, Seventh Story

Lauretta narrates the seventh tale. Teodoro was captured as a boy by pirates and sold as a slave to Amerigo in Sicily. Teodoro falls in love with Amerigo's daughter, Violante, and they begin a secret relationship. When Violante becomes pregnant, they try to hide the baby from her father, but he soon discovers their secret. Violante tells Amerigo Teodoro is the father of her child when Amerigo threatens to kill her. He arranges for Teodoro to hang while he gives his daughter the choice of death by dagger or poison.

While on his way to the gallows, three Armenian ambassadors see Teodoro, and one of them recognizes his birthmark. Teodoro is actually his son who was taken by pirates 15 years earlier. Father and son are reunited. Teodoro's father begs Amerigo to let their two children wed, and Amerigo sends word to his daughter. Teodoro, Violante, and their son return to Armenia.

Fifth Day, Eighth Story

Filomena narrates a story about cruelty in love. Nastagio is in love with the daughter of Paolo Traversari, but she is very cruel to him and does not return his affection. He ends up leaving the city to camp in the countryside. While in the forest, he sees a woman running away from a knight and a pack of dogs. When Nastagio intervenes, he finds out both of them are dead and must replay out this scene every week. The knight loved the lady, but she treated him terribly, so he killed himself in despair. The lady died soon after. Now the knight has to chase her, and kill her with the knife he used to kill himself and feed her body to the dogs. Nastagio contrives to bring Paolo Traversari and his daughter out to the forest so they can witness this scene. Paolo's daughter agrees to marry Nastagio right away.


Fortune solves many of the problems in these stories. Just as something horrible is about to happen to the main characters, someone of importance recognizes who they really are, or reveals their elevated status. In the "Eighth Story" Fortune puts Nastagio in the right place at the right time so he can see the ghosts that work within the meaning of the tale, and use their plight to convince the young woman to marry him. In all cases the class disparity that seems to be a stumbling block to the lovers remaining together is removed through good timing and even better fortune/luck. In an unpredictable life we lead, Boccaccio shows such events are about all that can be depended on.

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