Choose one of the following topics, and write a two page essay:
- In the Introduction to Decameron IV, we read: “Right then and there the father sensed that Nature had more power than his intelligence.” Discuss, including textual citations, how Boccaccio applies this principle in the Decameron.
The two love stories of Decameron IV, 1 & 5, have a tragic end, while the love story of Decameron V, 4 has a happy ending – Analyze the factors that lead to their opposite endings. (include relevant textual citations)
M. Cottino-Jones sees Griselda (Decameron X,10) as a Christ figure (pp.295-305 of your textbook). But this tale can also be interpreted differently. Read the story carefully, and develop an alternative interpretation to Cottino-Jones. (include relevant textual citations)
Analyze the following sonnet by Petrarch (your analysis must be based on Petrarch’s poetics, which was discussed in class):
O you who hear within these scattered verses
the sound of sighs with which I fed my heart
in my first errand youthful days when I
in part was not the man I am today;
for all the ways in which I weep and speak
between vain hopes, between vain suffering,
in anyone who knows love through trials,
in them, may I find pity and forgiveness.
For now I see, since I’ve become the talk
for long a time of people all around
(it often makes me full of shame),
that from my vanities comes fruit of shame
and my repentance and the clearest knowledge
that worldly joy is a quick passing dream.