Do you consider The Decameron to be anti-Dantean? How important is God is each work? What seems to be each author's attitude toward the Catholic church?

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dcuevas eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interestingly, both authors concern themselves with the affairs of men and the condition of the church. What differentiates them is their tone and stage of life they choose to discuss. Dante approaches man's existence after death. He exposes their sins and a punishment which has already been delivered. That includes the church and clergy as well. They have been judged and are in the midst of their punishment for sins Dante discloses. The serious tone taken in Inferno demonstrates Dante's belief in judgement and damnation. His writing is a who's who of sinners and their eternal sufferings.

Boccaccio, on the other hand, takes a more worldly approach. He deals with men, their sins, and the why of it all. Judgement has not occurred, no one is punished, and there is a noticeable lack of divine intervention. Boccaccio uses a mixture of humor and sarcasm to discuss the temporal world of the flesh inhabited by sinful men. He takes a rather harsh tone concerning the clergy and the Church itself. To him, their sin is ongoing and unpunished. one could say Boccaccio shows a world without the intervention of God where men actively engage in sin without visible consequences.

Contrasting these two Italian writers, it is easy to conclude that Boccaccio is indeed anti-Dantean although he shares the same concerns, especially with regards to the Church.

The following article can be found on Project Muse:

Resurrecting Dante's Florence: Figural Realism in the Decameron and the Esposizioni Kristina Marie Olson MLN Volume 124, Number 1, January 2009 (Italian Issue)

A brief intro to Boccaccio in:
Norton Anthology to World Literature - an introduction to the Decameron