Date of Completion


Thesis Advisor(s)


Honors Major



Italian Literature


Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, a famous piece of Italian literature written during the early Renaissance period, has created much debate among critics about its ambiguous position as a feminist, or anti-feminist piece of literature. This study seeks to explore this popular debate by examining Dioneo, one of the ten narrators Boccaccio creates for this collection. Dioneo is commonly referred to as the main voice of Boccaccio, or as the leader of the narrators. His character provides some of the most feminine stories within the Decameron as well as the most mysogynistic tale. Dioneo acts as a transgressor throughout the piece of literature and is afforded special privleges by Boccaccio's other narrators. Therefore an in-depth exploration of the character of Dioneo leads one to better understand Boccaccio's collection. In fact, Giovanni Boccaccio uses the Decameron to explore women's status in society without choosing to advocate directly for social change. In order to best understand this assertion the character of Dioneo must be explored.