Literature Study GuidesThe DecameronSeventh Day Tenth Story Summary

The Decameron | Study Guide

Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron | Seventh Day, Tenth Story | Summary

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Summary

Dioneo tells the story of two Sienese men, Tingoccio Mini and his friend Meuccio di Tura. They were very close friends and often listened to sermons together, and both wondered what really awaited them in the afterlife. They make a pact whoever dies first will come back and tell the other whatever they want to know.

Tingoccio becomes the godfather of the son of Monna Mita. He falls in love with her, but so does Meuccio, although neither of them tell the other of their feelings for the lady. Tingoccio sleeps with the woman first, but he falls ill and dies.

Three days later, he appears to Meuccio. Tingoccio tells Meuccio he is in purgatory, working off his sins. Meuccio asks about the sin of having slept with Monna Mita since she was the mother of Tingoccio's godson. Tingoccio tells him it is no great sin. Tingoccio leaves at daybreak, and Meuccio adjusts his behavior now that he knows there is no great punishment for sleeping with the mothers of his godchildren.

Analysis

This story is a humorous take on the afterlife, and what people can expect when they finally die. Two Sienese men wonder what awaits them in the afterlife, a question that has plagued religious scholars and philosophical thinkers forever. Tingoccio and Meuccio make their pact to return to Earth and tell the other what the afterlife is like when one of them dies.

Instead of a treatise on the afterlife, the reader gets a joke, a fitting tale for Boccaccio's work. Tingoccio dies first and comes back to tell Meuccio he is in purgatory. Meuccio is more worried about what happens when a man sleeps with his godson's mother—afraid it is a greater sin since they might actually be related, due to the godson. Tingoccio assures him it is a small sin in comparison to others they may have committed. The punch line is Meuccio will adjust his behavior accordingly now, but not necessarily for the better. He doesn't have to worry about going to hell for sleeping with all of his godchildren's mothers.

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