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Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance) 
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Post Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
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Here begins the Fifth Day, wherein, under the rule of Fiammetta, are discussed the adventures of lovers who survived calamities or misfortunes and attained a state of happiness.



Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:03 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
I have now read the first two stories of the fifth day, and both are certainly more upbeat than the last several stories of the fourth day, which seemed to highlight the swiftness with which the plague took lives. And no, President Camacho, before you even ask, I have never encountered a poisonous toad quite like the one who wiped out that wonderful couple whose only sin was eating some plants that the toad had infected.

In the second story of the fifth day, we again meet two lovers from different stations in life. The family of the higher station naturally objects to marriage, so the jilted member of the lowly rank decides to pull himself up in the financial world by engaging in piracy. While it brings him lots of riches and thereby establishes him as now being worthy of the previously-forbidden damsel, it also lands him in prison in a distant country. Fortunately for him, said damsel proves what a small world it is by accidentally blundering into a place across the seas quite near to her newly-rich but also jailed lover. They are re-united and spend the rest of eternity in bliss, in stark contrast to those who must deal with the misery of plague-ridden Florence.


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Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
You're way farther into the book than I am. I'm going to need a couple days to catch up :)



Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:35 am
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
Alright, I'm all caught up. I'll be posting something a little later.



Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:40 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
1st of 5th (Panfilo): This is one of the best stories in the book. A country bumpkin that is suddenly transformed into a connoisseur of beauty. It shows how the power of love can motivate a man to be a better person. It wasn't the force of fortune which propelled this young man into becoming an accomplished gentleman. He had riches and didn't feel the need to better himself because he had everything he wanted. That was until he saw a young lady he wanted. Love gave him the kick in the butt he needed. He wanted to be better for her.

Women are romantically elevated as an ideal or god-like being in this tale. "...sufficient mother wit to appreciate that divine things require more respect than those pertaining to earth." Cimon realized to capture a goddess he must become as close to worthy of her as he possibly could... that was the only way to respect such a divine being. He needed to be a better man, and quickly.

Cimon goes through a radical transformation. He changes clothes, friends, learns how to court a lady, became a paragon of wit and intelligence, changes his speech, learned to sing and play music, improved his martial skill, and became one of the most graceful, refined, and versatile men in Cyprus.

Love filled this man with the will to accomplish his goal. Love brought out these talents. On a side note, there are a lot of Greek names in this tale. Cimon was an Athenian military hero that was exiled from Athens, Iphigenia was Agamemnon's daughter who he sacrificed before sailing to Troy... and I think there was another one but I didn't write it down.

Here are some paintings that were inspired by the story.

Image
Image
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Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:05 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
The second story, I really don't have too much to say about. It was a nice, wholesome, feel good story. It's a departure from what I'm used to reading and that's very nice. There's no rape, no deception for sex... it was good but not notable in any way as far as I'm concerned.

3rd: Those without notes, the power vacuum resulting from the forced removal of the papal court to Avignon led to a state of lawlessness in Roman territory, which is graphically illustrated in this particular narrative.

I want to bring up courtly love again because we're seeing more romantic and virtuous versions of it as we go along. Cimon is my case in point. Today, there seems to be a decline in courtly or chivalrous love. Women are not helpless creatures and they are sexually liberated. They are on par with men and we have acknowledged their same primal needs as men - we have taken them from the world of divinity and placed them side by side with every other common thing imaginable. They don't dwell half in the world of the abstract and half in reality... they are 100% in reality. Also, we don't have the social classes we had back then which meant that it was taboo to date someone below your station. The large grouping of everyone into 'middle class' has helped to deter courtly love today in my opinion. There's a lot of porn and promiscuity today, too. I wonder what the average was back then compared to today as far as how many different people a person had sex with.

Morality is a luxury: "It is a much lesser evil to be misused by men than to be torn to pieces by wild beasts in the forest."

This story gives some insight into social norms back then. We see the girl sleeps with the couple in their bed. That's normal. Today, not so normal.

Thinking about the lack of love. I don't see or hear a lot of romantic activity today. I don't see men going above and beyond for their ladies. Is it worth investing in a lady at all today? Why? They can leave tomorrow, you can leave if you want... and there are plenty out there that have left their ex's. They're everywhere. There's tons of good looking women that have made up their genetic shortcomings with make-up and plastic surgery. Keep your guy friends and then have sex with the pretty females - there are so many. Why have kids, either. If you get divorced the wife has the legal right to take half your possessions, force you to pay child support and alimony, and take half of your retirement. If marriage was seen to be a business transaction that the D. is railing against with Love - then that tells me that marriage today is probably the worst business transaction a man can possibly make. And if there is no such thing as Love as we see here in the Decameron - then there is no reason to get married at all. right?

I'm curious what a contemporary romance novel is like today. What kind of love fills those pages? I bet you it's quite similar to what we see in these pages - something that fills natures urges. If nature's urges are taken care of then where is the motivation to go the lengths Cimon did to secure love? He knew nothing about her... he only wanted what was under her dress.



Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:31 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
President Camacho wrote:
1st of 5th (Panfilo): This is one of the best stories in the book. A country bumpkin that is suddenly transformed into a connoisseur of beauty. It shows how the power of love can motivate a man to be a better person. It wasn't the force of fortune which propelled this young man into becoming an accomplished gentleman. He had riches and didn't feel the need to better himself because he had everything he wanted. That was until he saw a young lady he wanted. Love gave him the kick in the butt he needed. He wanted to be better for her.

Women are romantically elevated as an ideal or god-like being in this tale. "...sufficient mother wit to appreciate that divine things require more respect than those pertaining to earth." Cimon realized to capture a goddess he must become as close to worthy of her as he possibly could... that was the only way to respect such a divine being. He needed to be a better man, and quickly.

Cimon goes through a radical transformation. He changes clothes, friends, learns how to court a lady, became a paragon of wit and intelligence, changes his speech, learned to sing and play music, improved his martial skill, and became one of the most graceful, refined, and versatile men in Cyprus.

Love filled this man with the will to accomplish his goal. Love brought out these talents. On a side note, there are a lot of Greek names in this tale. Cimon was an Athenian military hero that was exiled from Athens, Iphigenia was Agamemnon's daughter who he sacrificed before sailing to Troy... and I think there was another one but I didn't write it down.

Such is the power of love that it can even raise a man's I.Q.! That was just one of the irrational beliefs about love, although it may not have been really seriously entertained, and it was proved in the case of the mentally deficient Cimon. The intensity of people's faith in Love might explain the amorality of some of these stories. Since Love is a force that must be given in to, almost anything is permitted in its name. Cimon would probably have raped Iphigenia after capturing her, and he cuts down two innocent men in his desire to have her, but in the end that's all okay because he did it for love. My theory, probably bogus, is that the courtly love ideal was a relief valve for a people oppressed by the Catholic religion. Courtly love was known all over Europe, but it might have been more intense in some countries, such as Italy, than in others.

It seems that the stories are becoming a little less amoral, though, than they were in the first few days, maybe because the clergy isn't involved!

The fourth was amusing, with all the wordplay about the nightingale. I didn't enjoy the fifth as much, with the plot about the two men who attempt to win the same lady. It had some complications to it, but they weren't that interesting for me. The convention of the long-lost child being recognized years later by a parent, and saved by this recognition, is used in the seventh. The macabre and supernatural makes an appearance in the eighth, and that's a good change of pace since otherwise there is a sameness about these stories that makes them difficult to keep separate. The ninth had a good device that made it memorable, too: Federigo's eating of the falcon that his beloved was going to ask him to give to her. Rather improbably, this action works out well for Federigo, for after the lady's son dies over not getting the falcon, she figures that Federigo's sacrifice means that he's the best candidate to be her new husband. Check out the subject of the tenth story, a lusty woman who gets stuck with a gay man. This one is amusing until the ending, where it appears that the youth brought in by the wife (who doesn't get a name) might have been coerced into sex by the husband.


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Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:03 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
I've been a bit behind. I will pop in later on tonight to comment and create new threads. - PC



Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:37 am
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
Lol, I don't think that's an irrational belief about love. Men do a lot of things they wouldn't otherwise do in order to attract a lady. B. never says that Cimon gained aptitude - he only said that love unlocked his desire to learn. He had the ability all along but never the desire to use it. Good women make better men, imho. De Tocqueville said of America: "and if I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women."

Now I know the rest of what he had to say about American women would make the ladies today furious - I appreciate and agree with his last sentiment. I do believe in family synergy. A good man and a good woman are greater than the sum of their 'parts'. ;)

Love as a force is a great point. He really does use it throughout the stories as a force similar to the furies and muses of old that were deities. Love is almost always capitalized as if it were a god. It's very powerful, too.

I agree about the relief valve thing. Maybe the stories about all the cheating women is a relief valve, too, that B. provides for all those poor ladies who were locked away from the world by their husbands.

Courage, strength, and singular ambition are qualities people like to cheer. In a more primitive society people would probably turn away or attempt to justify misdeeds such as when Hercules killed his family but was still considered a god/man-hero. So while we shudder at some of the deeds of the characters in the stories - they were probably ok back then or added to the character's virtuosity, made a hero more human - easier to empathize with, or even extra-human and more romantic.

The last story was hysterical. The young man was obviously brutalized but it was told in a way that, for me, was funny. Nothing was mentioned that he tried to escape or was forced. I'm guessing he was coerced. I'm not gay but maybe he got what he deserved for messing with a married woman.



Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:37 am
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
I guess, what with just about every popular song over the past 50 or more years being about the power of love, we shouldn't think all this extravagant talk about love is that unusual. With B., and generally in courtly love, love is elevated to a religion, though. It's an earthy religion in B.'s stories, more lust than love in fact, and that makes them more entertaining. If he was to take the platonic route in the courtly tradition, we'd have no stories at all. Since he takes the non-platonic route, every love affair is consummated.


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Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:01 pm
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Post Re: Day 5 - Fiametta (Temperance)
Whoever wanted to hear about someone who did their taxes correctly, ate good food, had good manners, and zzzz zzz zz zzzz. Every great epic needs a hero who overcomes some odds for something of value and did it on a grand scale. Whatever he did was ok as long as it is Guinness worthy. We elevate Pirates and Kings alike to Hero status even though they do the most ruthless and disgusting things.

I guess Occidental culture has elevated love to something of value - something worth bending the rules for. I wonder what other cultures would think about men killing men for women... they might be very confused because their idea of women as a possession worthy of risking life and limb over doesn't exist.



Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:32 pm
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