Explain how story telling in The Decameron is beneficial for the narrators of the 100 stories, the listeners, and the readers of the stories.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a complex question. Starting with author Boccaccio, the benefit he is deemed as having gained from writing The Decameron is that he used his stories to restore some order to a world in disarray due to the Black Death, the plague that began in Sicily in 1347 and initially ended, after spreading across Europe, in 1350. Historians estimate that 30 to 40 percent of the Europe's population became ill and died during the Black Death. According to historians, the death toll left cities and societies devastated psychologically and socially. Boccaccio wrote The Decameron with two primary themes, both of which were his reaction to this devastation: (1) to women and love; (2) to humankind's intelligence and what intelligence can accomplish. Both of these can be seen as the thread that Boccaccio thought might stitch Europe together again.

Next, the narrators of the stories might be seen to benefit from their stories by the obvious mental and emotional distraction from the fear and horror of the plague, a benefit equally applicable to their listeners. The narrators might also benefit by the exercise of their intellect, which is one of the element of humanity that Boccaccio is celebrating in The Decameron. The listeners might benefit from the stories as entertainment; as moral lessons; as amusement; as instruction related to Boccaccio's two themes of women and love along with human intelligence. The readers' benefit from the stories will of course be comprised of all these benefits as the reader follows the author's intention and objective; reads sensitively and in tune with the narratorial voice; and attends to and participates with the listeners responses.