Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronFourth Day Third Fourth Stories Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron | Fourth Day, Third–Fourth Stories | Summary



Fourth Day, Third Story

Lauretta narrates. Three sisters love three young men and run away with them to the island of Crete. The eldest sister discovers her lover's attention has wandered, and she kills him out of jealousy. To save her life, the second sister gives herself to the Duke of Crete. When her lover finds out, he kills her and runs away with the eldest sister. The third sister and her paramour are charged with the murder. They are arrested, but escape after bribing the guards. They leave for Rhodes where they live in poverty until death.

Fourth Day, Fourth Story

Elissa tells this tale of Gerbino, the grandson of King William II of Sicily. He falls in love with the daughter of the king of Tunis, and she returns his feelings although they have never met. When Gerbino discovers she is to be wed to the king of Granada, he—against his grandfather's orders—goes to intercept the bride-to-be. She is killed in front of Gerbino, and he kills everyone in his grief. When the king of Tunis complains to King William, King William orders his only grandson beheaded for his actions.


Filostrato asks for stories with miserable endings, and these two tales do not disappoint. Unlike the first three days, here the reader sees the darker side of love. These stories show love out of control, and love that is selfish and cruel. The third story illustrates what happens when jealousy poisons the love between two people—although these are really examples of lust and not love. Even the two lovers who do remain true to each other are punished with an unhappy ending of escape and poverty.

The fourth story illustrates a love gone out of control. Gerbino attempts to kidnap his lover only to have her killed in front of him. Insane with grief, he murders everyone. His passions rule him, causing him to ignore the orders of his king and grandfather. Both he and his lover pay with their lives for their rash actions.

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