Somnium and Visio in the Decameron
Keywords:Dreams , Somnium , Visio , Boccaccio , Decameron
AbstractThe article focuses on dreams and visions in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Starting with medieval dream categorization and interpretation, both classical and popular influences are explored, showing how Boccaccio combines them in an original perspective, in which the truthfulness of dreams relies on the accuracy of their premonitions rather than their factual or historical content. A careful assessment of Lisabetta da Messina’s novella brings out subtle psychological and moral nuances, through a dark but suggestive symbolism, as the main character defies authority and ‘waters’ her lover’s severed head with her tears, thus generating a figurative offspring in the basilico plant. A comparative analysis of Boccaccio’s novella on Nastagio degli Onesti and Passavanti’s text dwells on the importance of supernatural references and highlights a radical subversion of moral values. Boccaccio appears to depart from tradition, as he ascribes worth to love and abandonment instead of restraint, framing the concept of ‘superstition’ in a new, positive context.