Women’s Sexuality and Honor in Medieval Europe: through Boccaio’s Decameron and Perault’s Little Red Riding Hood
Women’s Sexuality and Honor in Medieval Europe:
In this essay I will argue that The Decameron as a whole and Little Red Riding Hood are both stories written by men for women with the purpose of teaching them a
“lesson” in order to make them stay chaste. These stories are both written for women of status in mediaeval European catholic societies and both have a directed
response to women in terms of the purpose or moral to their stories often containing consequences.
Topics to be included:
• The Decameron and little red riding hood are both literary works which bring attention to women’s suppressed sexuality opposed on them in the name of honor by
society in medieval Europe. Societal views of women (weak, inferior in intelligence, and personal property of their husbands.)*Quotes*
• Women were valued for their Chastity, which harbors family honor. Why chastity was so valued and brief overview of where theses ideas originated. Include *Quotes*
• Chastity and religion: walking a fine line through literature in a catholic society
The Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio and French author Charles Perault both walk a fine line regarding women’s sexuality in their stories of the Decameron and Little
Red Riding Hood in their catholic societal settings. According to Christian values it is considered inappropriate to write such explicate material about sexual acts
and desires, which led these authors to use an abundance of figurative language within their texts. *Quotes*
• Views of the Decameron revealed through a comparisons of actions by women in the city verse the country: The implications of Boccaccio’s use of these women to teach
his female readers a lesson about being lustful and deceitful with negative outcomes*Quotes*. Views of wittiness and the advantage of being witty gives women over men
or a situation *quotes*. Boccaccio is telling his readers not to be naïve. These two topics in the Decameron exemplify the dos and don’ts of the novellas that
Boccaccio imposed on his readers.
• Charles Perault’s moral as it pertains to figurative language. Perault’s reasons for writing the folklore for women during the medieval period are comparable to
those reasons of Boccaccio. Give *quotes* from the introduction of Boccaccio and the Moral of Perault’s little red ridding hood. The way in which literature was
perceived by women and why it was actually written. Was the reason for Boccaccio writing his stories empowerment or in an effort to keep them from breaking societal
norms of the time? (Empowerment of women vs. suppression)*quotes*
• Conclusion and ending thoughts of personal views as a reader of these works
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