Ovid, Giovanni Boccaccio Essay

Pages: 3 (975 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Setting the stage for stories about love and romance, death and war, Ovid asks the reader to interpret these tales through the frame of transformation and change. The author can remain as didactic as he wishes, because he hides behind the framing narrative. Readers can much more easily forgive the presence of the author intruding on the story when the author unself-consciously metamorphoses into the narrator in the frame.

In The Decameron, framing serves an even more direct function than it does in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In Boccaccio's The Decameron, the frame narrative provides a historical context that is much appreciated by modern readers who might not otherwise understand the motives of some of the central characters. More importantly, the frame narrative introduces the narrator unequivocally as a character. Boccaccio is more detached from The Decameron than Ovid is from The Metamorphoses. Being holed up in a farm during the "late mortal pestilence," the seven ladies and three men who weave the tales seek "in some measure to compensate the injustice of Fortune," (Proem 013). Using poignant symbolism, the author is sure to make a reference to the spinning wheel: for spinning tales is akin to spinning yarn. The frame narrative in The Decameron, the title of which refers to the ten tales told by the men and women, heralds the function of storytelling as being a salve for the soul. Therefore, frame narratives inherently celebrate the act of storytelling.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Ovid, Giovanni Boccaccio, and the Assignment

In One Thousand and One Nights, Persian queen Scheherazade is the narrator presenting the frame for the collection of tales. This is a stark contrast to both Ovid and Boccaccio, who are clearly the respective authors of their work. Authorship is not the issue in One Thousand and One Nights. These are oral narratives collected along trade routes, coalescing in a compilation and united under a Persian framework. Scheherazade, like the narrator in Ovid's Metamorphoses, invokes the divine spirit prior to framing the stories. The tone is established: a sense of wonderment and awe permeates the reading experience. Like the narrators of The Decameron, furthermore, Scheherazade provides necessary historical and cultural context that gives shape to the stories and helps the reader understand them. "The lives of former generations are a lesson to posterity; that a man may review the remarkable events which have happened to others, and be admonished; and may consider the history of people of preceding ages," (Introduction). What is remarkable about One Thousand and One Nights is the fact that the frame narrative permits a strikingly multicultural literary collection, collated under one framework.

Works Cited

From Norton Anthology of World Literature:

Ovid" in Volume A, pp. 1073-1076

"Metamorphoses" in Volume A, pp.1076-1088; pp. 1104-1116

"Giovanni Boccaccio" in Volume B, pp. 605-609

"Decameron, Day 10, Story 10" in Volume B, pp. 649-656

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