Boccaccio’s Decameron, of which ‘‘Federigo’s Falcon’’ is a part, is written as a frame narrative. In a frame narrative a story, or a series of stories, is embedded within a larger structure. This framing structure is itself a narrative designed to introduce or set the stage for the other story or stories. Each one of the embedded works is regarded as a story within a story. In Boccaccio’s Decameron, the framing narrative is the story of the seven young women and three young men who escape the plague in Florence by secluding themselves in a villa in the countryside. This structure provides the author with a convenient, cohesive way to link otherwise unrelated short stories. Critics studying the work as a whole examine each of the narrating characters, seeking continuity in the storytelling styles of each individual. In ‘‘Federigo’s Falcon,’’ narrated by the character of Fiammetta, the narrator briefly describes the story she is about to tell and advises the other women in her company about the lessons to be learned from the tale, thereby reminding the reader of the larger framework of the Decameron. However, the individual short stories in the collection also function as complete narratives in their own right.
‘‘Federigo’s Falcon’’ and the other stories in the Decameron are written in vernacular Italian (the common, spoken Italian language) rather than in Latin (the language of serious and scholarly literary and philosophical works written in Boccaccio’s time). Being written in Italian enabled Boccaccio’s stories to be copied and distributed quickly since the copyists did not need to know Latin in order to reproduce the manuscript. The accessibility in terms of language, combined with the resulting ease and efficiency with which the texts could be copied, gave the Decameron a reputation for being popular and entertaining reading. The common, informal language served Boccaccio’s aims in terms of theme as well. Many of the stories in the Decameron are focused on love and romance, and a number of them have been described as more sensual than others. ‘‘Federigo’s Falcon,’’ which focuses on courtly love as opposed to physical attraction, is less erotic than some of the other stories in the collection.
Sara Constantakis, Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 28 (2010) – Giovanni Boccaccio – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.