Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronNinth Day Third Ninth Stories Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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

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Summary

Ninth Day, Third Story

Filostrato narrates this story with Bruno, Buffalmacco, and Nello having fun again at Calandrino's expense. The three hear Calandrino has inherited a sum of money. They convince Calandrino after much maneuvering he is pregnant! In order to end the pregnancy, he must provide money and fancy food to help the doctor (Simone, another friend) prepare medicine. The men dine on all the food while Calandrino takes his ridiculous liquid 'cure.'

Ninth Day, Fourth Story

Neifile tells the fourth tale. Two young men are named Cecco—Cecco Angiulieri and Cecco Fortarrigo. Angiulieri asks his father for money to go to the court of a highly ranked member of the clergy, and Fortarrigo goes along as his servant. Unfortunately, Fortarrigo has a gambling and drinking problem, and he loses his clothes and his money. Then he loses all of Angiulieri's money and clothes. Fortarrigo cunningly pretends Angiulieri is the one who stole his clothes and money. Some farmers stop Angiulieri, beat him up, and give Fortarrigo his friend's things. Angiulieri, left with nothing, goes to a different town and once again asks his father for help.

Ninth Day, Fifth Story

Fiammetta narrates another tale about Calandrino. Bruno once again makes a fool of Calandrino after the man falls in love with a woman named Niccolosa. Calandrino sends her letters and plays her love songs to woo her, entertaining those around him. Eventually Bruno gives him a "magic" scroll that, with one touch, will make Niccolosa do whatever he wants. Niccolosa pretends to be in a trance. Calandrino's wife arrives just as he is going to kiss Niccolosa and she attacks her husband, berating him while the others laugh.

Ninth Day, Sixth Story

Panfilo narrates this story. Pinuccio and Niccolosa are in love. Pinuccio and his friend Adriano spend the night at Niccolosa's father's inn. Through a series of mishaps, Adriano ends up sleeping with Niccolosa's mother, and Pinuccio ends up confessing to Niccolosa's father—thinking he is Adriano—that he and Niccolosa just slept together. Thinking fast, Niccolosa's mother climbs into bed with her daughter and says she has been sleeping there the entire night, thus saving everyone in this comical situation of mistaken identities.

Ninth Day, Seventh Story

Pampinea tells the next story. Talano is married to a beautiful but unpleasant woman named Margarita. One night he dreams a wolf tears out her throat. When he wakes, he warns his wife about his dream. She ignores him and is attacked by a wolf. Although she is saved by shepherds, her beauty has been destroyed by the attack.

Ninth Day, Eighth Story

Lauretta narrates this story. Two men, Ciacco and Biondello, who live better than their purses allow by using their wits to entertain the wealthy, are rivals. Biondello gives Ciacco the wrong location for breakfast one morning, and Ciacco returns the favor by setting a big strong wine-seller against Biondello to beat him soundly. They finally agree to a truce.

Ninth Day, Ninth Story

Emilia narrates this story about the wise king, Solomon. Two men go to consult Solomon. Giosefo seeks answers on what to do about his shrewish wife, and Melissus wants to know why no one seems to love him when he throws such extravagant parties. Solomon gives them their answers: "Love" for Melissus, and "Go to the Goose Bridge" for Giosefo. Feeling like they were made fools of, they depart.

On their way home, the two men stop on a bridge because a carter is brutally beating his stubborn mule. When they ask an old man what the name of the bridge is, he replies with "The Goose Bridge." When Giosefo returns home and finds his wife unpleasant, he remembers Solomon's words, and the carter beating his mule to get it to obey him, and he beats his wife up soundly. The next morning, she makes the breakfast he wants.

Melissus returns home after spending several days with Giosefo, and tells a friend what Solomon told him. The friend tells Melissus he is only giving parties to show off, and not doing it out of real feeling. If he starts to feel love, he will gain love.

Analysis

Calandrino shows up in several stories, again as the victim of his friends' pranks. He never learns as they continue to embarrass and harass him, making him an excellent comedic example. When it comes to making people laugh, a story of Calandrino is a sure bet, so he is the subject of several stories in the open-themed day.

The "Sixth Story" is a precursor to Chaucer's, "The Reeve's Tale," in The Canterbury Tales. This story relies on the wit and quick thinking of several people—the young men, and the girl's mother—to make sure they all make it out unscathed and fool the girl's father. This is another humorous tale with bed-hopping and deception.

The "Ninth Story" is an odd one. Solomon the Wise offers very simple advice to two men. One piece of advice encourages a man to beat his wife when she refuses to obey him. This is a horrifying statement from one famed for his wisdom. Giosefo interprets his wisdom based on what he witnesses at the Goose Bridge and chooses to beat his wife as if she were an animal. In a book full of equal treatment of the sexes, this seems positively primitive. Boccaccio juxtaposes this story with all of the others that came before to call attention to the treatment of women and how terrible it is in this instance.

In the case of the "Ninth Story," Emilia has stated before in her view women were meant to be governed by their husbands. If they choose not to do so—to go against the natural order of things—they should be physically punished by their husbands, as is their right in turn to do so. This is a traditional view of the familial order, with the husband being the head, and the wife taking all of her orders from him. Emilia is playing into traditional gender roles here, possibly using this as a reminder they will be returning to Florence shortly, where the natural order reins. The brigata has enjoyed their respite, but they will soon have to journey back to the city.

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