Boccaccio's Decameron


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What have we learned?

From our data, it seems that although Boccaccio successfully portrays women in a more non-traditional way (particularly in their clever, confident speech, and honest speech), but there were still many incidents in which these traits can be quantifiably countered, particularly his depiction of deceptive women. It can be argued that Boccaccio believes that women should speak with wit because, as noted in the proem, they have fewer chances to speak and make a difference. This "clever" speech is sometimes done for ulterior or selfish motives, and that is how deception plays into it. Our data says that women are almost just as deceptive as men, and so Boccaccio is making the claim that the sexes frequently speak to trick each other. A speech trait that stands out is that of blasphemous speech for which men clearly outnumber the women. This is probably because there are not many stories about religious females, but there are a number of stories showing the corruption of the church through priests and monks. As for actions, there are more stand-outs here, in particular that men are more sexual, violent, and manipulative. Some have stated that this novel gave women the chance to explore their sexuality, but this data tells us that men have more sexual actions than women, thus contradicting that claim. There are very few instances in which a women is physically violent towards someone, and the men clearly outnumber them in this respect. Boccaccio is making very interesting points through this by playing to the stereotypes that men are more hostile and aggressive, where as women don't use violence as an end to a mean.