Federigo's Falcon - Eckman

Federigo’s Falcon by Giovanni Boccaccio
Background Info:
 Part of the Decameron collection written in 14th Century Italy after the Black Plague or
Bubonic Plague hit Florence, Italy.
 Just like in England, this plague reduced the populations in Europe between 25 – 50 %.
 Decameron is loosely translated as “10 days” from the Greek words for “ten” (deca)
and “days” (mera)
 The Decameron was another example of a Frame Story. The ‘outside story’ is that of a
journey of a group of wealthy young Florentines who leave Florence to go to a country
villa to escape the plague infested city.
 To pass the time on the 10 day trip, they decided to elect a king or queen for each day
who would select a ‘theme’ for the day and each traveler would have to tell a story
based on that theme.
 “Federigo’s Falcon” is told on the 5th day of the journey. The theme of the day was
stories with happy endings. It was the 9th story told that day.
 The nobleman Federigo falls in love with a married woman Monna Giovanna.
 She is virtuous and would never consider leaving her husband, no matter what Federigo does
to try and make her fall in love with him.
 He eventually spends all of his money trying to win her love.
 He is forced to move to a farm and keeps his most valuable possession; his prize falcon.
 When Giovanna’s husband dies, her son becomes heir and so does Giovanna if her son dies
before he marries/becomes of age.
 She and her son move to an estate close to Federigo.
 Her son becomes very fond of Federigo’s falcon.
 He soon becomes very sick and begs his mother for the falcon- saying that if he has it he
knows he will become better.
 Monna goes to Federigo, knowing that he is still in love with her, and asks to dine with him.
 Wanting to impress Monna but lacking money, he reluctantly sacrifices his prized possession
for her dinner.
 After the meal, Monna makes her son’s request.
 Federigo weeps and explains the situation. Eventually Monna comes to terms with what has
happened and returns to her son.
 The boy dies soon after. Monna mourns but eventually returns to Federigo and marries him
due to his virtuous and kind soul.
Name:____________________________________________________ Date:___________________
Reading Questions:
1. Which details in the 1 paragraph reflect upon this time period (historical references)?
By the end of the 3 paragraph, what have you learned about Federigo?
By the end of the 11 paragraph, what conflict does Monna Giovanna face?
How does the exchange between Monna and Federigo reflect the historical context of the story (end of 13
Compare Federigo’s love to modern day men or women in love. What are the similarities and differences? Can
you name a modern day story or movie that is similar to “Federigo’s Falcon”?
Federigo and Monna have dinner. How is the meal an example of situational irony?
What does the role of Monna Giovanna’s brothers suggest about the status of women in Europe at this time?
In “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, the old woman or crone argues with the knight saying that gentility is not the result of
a noble birth but of nobile actions. Which characters in “Federigo’s Falcon” would agree with the crone and which
would disagree? Explain your answer.