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“The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 328
  • Category: Society

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Plague as Dehumanization of Florentine Society

It is necessary to outline that “The Decameron” by Boccaccio is one of the best remarkable and touching portraying of the plague in the medieval history. Boccaccio speaks about the plague in the Poem, though he pays no attention to it in the reminder of the masterpiece. Actually, the author doesn’t provide detailed description of the plague as devastating disease, nor he discusses its effects or black bruises of victims or their swollen glands. He simply mentions that two pigs died of the plague in the introduction to his work. The author provides deeper perception of the plague – he discusses plague as the representation of dehumanization of Florentine society. The author focuses on the attitudes and behavior of the citizens, their moral and personal notations. Moreover, Boccaccio doesn’t speak that barbarism has returned in the Tuscan city.

Instead, the author describes that connective tissue of the plague-inflicted society has come undone and in its place a cruel, surreal rapport between Florentine citizens was achieved. For example, Boccaccio claims that Florentine women even loose their moral because of plague conditions. When women realize they are ill, they allow themselves to behave amorally and their nudity is observed by man-servants. It is necessary to note that for Boccaccio it was important how the person lives, not how long he lives. Florentine society, thus, arrived at the limits of inhumanity. Boccaccio refers to the Black Plague of 1938 to restore the ill conditions of society and plague is observed as the justification of the formation of the mixed-sex brigata at a time of controversies. In such a way the author demonstrates that moral climate of the city has been changed as plague expansion has caused dehumanization making people do things they can’t allow earlier. So, the plague ills people both physically and morally.

Works Cited

Boccaccio, Giovanni & Musa, Mart (translt.). The Decameron. USA: Signet Classics, 2002.

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