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Decameron Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Gender Roles in Beowulf and The Decameron

The Anglo- Saxon epic Beowulf and Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron tell very different stories, but nevertheless can be said to share one common literary element: the representation of gender. Both Beowulf and many of the stories in the Decameron represent women as being the subject to men in all respects. Beowulf is a masculine epic altogether, in which women are absent, silent or otherwise merely a tool that serves the world of men. In The Decameron on the other hand, although women are present in all the stories, Boccaccio makes them the victims of his irony most of the times, picturing them either as adulteresses or as very simple beings that completely lack cleverness, like the woman who lets herself be…