Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What is the Decameron

The first question you have to ask is - What is the Decameron?

As briefly mentioned in the first post, The Decameron is a collection of stories about humanity told at the time of the Black Plague when men, women and children were dying by the thousands every day.

Boccaccio places his storytelling marathon (100 stories in 10 days) in the time of the Black Plague. Not one single story in the Decameron refers to the plague - but the stories as a whole are about new life, about survival and about the human activity that will repopulate the world. Europe has lost so many of its people but new ones will be born. Boccaccio himself speculated that sexual mores loosened during those desperate days, and his stories reflect this. The moral is that people can be happy, prosperous and creative even in the worst of times: nothing quenches the life force.

There is a website online called Decameron Web website, created by Brown University.

In its hundred stories, shared in ten days by ten young people escaping the Plague in mid-14th-century Florence, it combines sheer entertainment with a meaningful humanistic message. A tribute to human ingenuity, an epic masterpiece of a rising, dynamic mercantile society that pursues pleasure while being threatened by sudden extinction, the Decameron can be read as a transgressive and escapist manual of behavior as well as a breviary of moral predicaments intended for a secular, unprejudiced reader.

The Decameron Web has a ton of interesting articles and details about the Decameron. I could read that website, but I much prefer to find my own way in understanding this book, rather than accepting soneone else's interpretation.

Each persons interpretation is coloured by their morals and their upbringing. Your opinions, views and morals are influenced greatly (more than you realise) by how you were raised. Whether you were raised with religion or not. And yes you can still have morals without religion.

I bring up the question of morals - because the Decameron brings up the subject of sex and sexual pleasure. The catholic church says that sex is for procreation only and not for pleasure. The church has also made sex a very dirty subject. Anyone engaging in sex with someone who is NOT their own marriage partner, will go to hell.

No comments:

Post a Comment