Essay on Medieval Literature - Chaucer and Boccaccio

Date:  2021-06-28 17:21:46
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The medieval period is the time during which the tales of The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer were developed. The two stories have expressed several similarities and difference as they portray themes of sex, marriage, love, and humor. The Decameron is the one hundred stories recounted by ten storytellers in a span of ten days. The word in its different importance is extracted from Dec signifying ten. The Decameron describes stories like brutality, interest, affection, and humor. The Canterbury Tales is composed of stories authored by Geoffrey Chaucer toward the end of the fourteenth century. The stories are introduced as a significant aspect of a narration contest by some devotees in their sacred journey to Saint Thomas Becket shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. The award for this challenge was a free dinner at the Tabard Inn on their way back

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In spite of the vast contrasts in plot and topic, there are some correspondences in the two tales. The anthology of the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales conveys their readers to encounter a lot of comedy structures, mistaken character, sensational incongruity as well as different occurrences of wit and cunning.

Both of the two stories the Decameron, the Canterbury Tales display several similarities from various perspectives. The level of impact that Boccaccio's composition might have applied to the literary creation of Chaucer has been challenged for a long time in the insightful writing, but a few critics argue that this civil argument is irresolvable and readers ought to concentrate rather on the works themselves to the elimination of personal contemplations about the writers. In case the reader heeds the advice, he or she can distinguish no less than three similarities in the stories which might be as a result of the remarkable moment in which they lived and the scholarly standards of the day as opposed to any asserted copyright infringement on Chaucer's part.

In the two allegories, the two writers have exhibited the secular setting of the tales, the utilization of the method of frame narrative as well as morality and immorality to interpret meanings in the communities. A relative analysis of two stories uncovers these resemblances and encourages one to comprehend their importance.

The two tales, the Decameron and the Canterbury, are structured in the form of frame narratives so that there are many stories inside a bigger story and therefore permitting different encounters, points of view, topics and feelings to be investigated. Moreover, a set of conflicting thoughts has been generated in the two tales. While Boccaccio has a tendency to be more straightforward in his assessments, Chaucer all the more often surrenders an ultimate conclusion over to the reader; despite the fact that his story advising challenge should be concluded by the host.

There are a significant number of differences portrayed in the two stories. Throughout the allegory of the Canterbury, we find out that the tale has mirrored the contemporary English society whereby the story is told in London, England while the tale of the Decameron displays the contemporary Italian culture and takes place in Florence, Italy. In the Canterbury Tales, the story depicts the existence of supernatural events like transformation while on the other hand no such aspects of supernatural events have been demonstrated in the Decameron allegory. Also, the Canterbury Tales the period of the tale is not precisely stated because the story is half-completed. On the other hand, the Decameron story has a definite time as it is complete.

The Canterbury Tales have been set in a manner such that it makes references to Greek mythology a situation that is not seen in the Decameron allegory by Giovanni Boccaccio. Additionally, the Canterbury Tales has made the use of personification in the telling of the stories, unlike the Decameron which has not embraced the feature. The feature of wonderful creatures has generated a significance point of comparison between the two tales. For example, writer of the Canterbury story has made use of incredible creatures while there are no wonderful creatures in the Decameron story.

The two tales are told around the same period of the 1300AD, and there are many different roles for both men and women. For example, in the Decameron women are frequently portrayed to be gentle, and to some extent, naive and such women are identified to be submissive to their spouses who would at times take advantage of the loyalty of women. The women had no voice in the issues that affected the society and relied on what the men said. For instance, in the Decameron, the tale where a girl was found in an affair with her lover in bed the father of the girl murders the boy and sends his heart to his daughter who later takes her life.


The two collections of stories The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer investigate different aspects of regarding the nature of human beings and establish ethical issues for the reflection of the reader. Also, the themes created in the writings suggest that they are permanent and universal so that the two tales can go on passing down lessons and entertainment from one generation to the other.

Work Cited

Chaucer, G. (2016). Troilus and Criseyde:" The Book of Troilus" by Geoffrey Chaucer. Routledge.

Robertson, Durant Waite. A Preface to Chaucer: Studies in Medieval Perspective. Princeton University Press, 2015.

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