The Decameron
by Giovanni Boccaccio
Third Day, First Story

Group #1
Mary Coakley
Pamela Monastero
Laverne Thompson
Jackie Womack
Lit 211, Dr. Richie  


  The Third Day “begins with people who obtained something they desired through their ingenuity or who have recovered something they once lost” (Boccaccio 162).  Boccaccio’s “First Story” on Day Three (165) involves Masetto da Lamporecchio and a group of convent nuns.  Both Masetto and the nuns wanted something they should not have – sexual relations.  Deceit, coupled with weaknesson the nuns part, resulted in their participation in the sin of sex (165).

Upon learning about a gardening position at the convent, Masetto decided to apply for the position and posed as a deaf mute in order to get hired(166, 167).  Because he was young and handsome the nuns, who were also young and beautiful, were curious about him sexually (168).

Considering the moral and religious consequences of surrending to their weaknesses, the nuns had sex with Masetto believing that as a deaf mute, he could not reveal their activities.   Masetto eventually became exhausted from his sexual adventures and spoke to the Abbess (the Head Nun or Rev. Mother) while making love to her (170).  She thought it was a miracle that he could speak and conspired with the other nuns to keep him with them and maintain their secret (170).

Masetto returned home old, rich and father to the nuns’ children (170).  Masetto lived out a fantasy that most men only dreamt about.  The nuns served God and still experience the pleasures of womanhood.

Work Cited

Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Trans. Mark Musa & Peter Bondanella. New York: Penguin Group, 1982.  

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