The Decameron Characters

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The Decameron Summary & Study Guide Description

The Decameron Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.

Saint Ciappelletto is the main character in chapter one. The saint begins the story as Ser Cepparello, a notary who lives in France. Cepparello is a very dishonest man to the point that he is ashamed if any of his dealings are proven to be honest and true. However, because Cepparello is such an accomplished liar, the people of his village honor the man and entrust him with all their legal documents, business, and money. Therefore, it is not unusual when Musciatto Franzesi approaches Cepparello to handle his business in Burgundy while he travels to meet with Pope Boniface. Cepparello is delighted with the task of traveling to Burgundy to attend to Frazesi's business, surely making many opportunities for himself along the way.

Cepparello is pleased to take up residence with the two Florentine brothers whose reputation is not good in the town. However, they are not nearly as bad as Cepparello in their business. Being savvy men, the Floretines quickly understand Cepparello's character and become alarmed when the man falls ill. The brothers care for Cepparello and are distressed when the man's health continues to fail. It is almost guaranteed that when Cepparello dies, the village will uncover his wickedness and further tarnish the Florentines' business.

When Cepparello asks for a priest to absolve him of his sins, the brothers laugh in astonishment. There is no priest on earth who would absolve Cepparello of his countless sins. Cepparello assures the brothers that he can convince someone to absolve him and save their reputation. The brothers manage to find a monk to perform last rites and take Cepparello's contrived confession. Cepparello is so convincing and bold with his lies that the monk declares him holy and later Cepparello is canonized.

Andreuccio di Pietro is a famous merchant known for buying and selling horses to the people in his village. When Pietro hears that there are many horses to be bought at low market prices in Naples and sets out for the city with hopes to make great bargains and increase his fortune. Pietro has never been to Naples and is somewhat naïve about the things that go on in larger cities, particularly the deception and crime.

While Pietro is walking through the city alone, disturbed because he has not yet located the great deals he is seeking, he is approached by an old woman. Pietro knows the woman and is glad to see her. Pietro is also intrigued by the beautiful young girl accompanying the old woman. When the woman visits Pietro at the inn, the man displays great courtesy and accepts the invitation to visit with the woman and her daughter. The visit is fine and Pietro is pressed into staying for dinner as well as the night. Pietro does not want to do this but feels obligated. Pietro's good nature is taken advantage of by the young woman who claims to be his sister. Having been coached by the old woman, who knows Pietro's family, the younger woman convinces Pietro that she is his long lost sister. Pietro's naivete is shown when he is cast out and finally realizes that he has been robbed. Pietro is devastated, having lost his fortune while being completely humiliated.

Pietro regains his wits and, devising a plan as a criminal might, turns the tables on the two men who attempt to help him while actually planning to rob him after Pietro assists in robbing the archbishop's grave. Pietro recoups his losses, confides to his traveling companions and then flees the city.

Alatiel is the daughter of the sultan of Babylon who is lost at sea and suffers great misfortune at the hands of many men.

Giannotto di Civigni is the friend of Abraham who is intent on converting the man to Christianity.

Masetto is the man who goes to work in the orchard at a convent and pretends to be deaf-mute.

Alibech is the young girl who goes into the Egyptian desert to find a way to serve God.

Brother Alberto is the monk who convinces a woman that he is channeling the angel Gabriel.

Isabetta is a woman who falls in love with a shopkeeper and then suffers a breakdown when he is murdered by her brothers.

Frederigo is a nobleman who squanders his entire fortune trying to get the attention of a beautiful woman.

Brother Onion is a smooth talking monk who encourages the residents of a small village to support him and the monastery at St. Anthony.

Peronella is the housewife of a mason who takes on a lover, then tricks her husband when the couple is caught in the throes.

Don Gianni di Barolo is a tradesman who convinces his friend and colleague that he is able to cast a magic spell to turn a woman into a horse.

Gualtieri is the son of a marquis who marries a peasant girl and then makes her prove her worth.

Griselda is Gualtieri's longsuffering wife.

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