Falcon in Decameron

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“a single falcon, the best in the world.”

”Spending thus greatly beyond his means, and making nothing, Federigo could hardly fail to come to lack, and was at length reduced to such poverty that he had nothing left but a little estate, on the rents of which he lived very straitly, and a single falcon, the best in the world. The estate was at Campi, and thither, deeming it no longer possible for him to live in the city as he desired, he repaired, more in love than ever before; and there, in complete seclusion, diverting himself with hawking, he bore his poverty as patiently as he might.”

In the miniature, we see a falcon being grabbed by his strong legs. It is this falcon that plays a crucial role in the novella. Falcons can reach up to 400 km per hour and are able to swiftly change direction thanks to their thin and tarped wings. With their eyes ever so sharp, falcons are able to find their prey and catch it with their talons.For more info on falcons see Deubel’s entry in the Britannica

Falcons are so impressive that even a Marvel superhero is named after the species. During the Medieval and Renaissance period, falconry was a sport for the elite, as it was for our main character, Federigo degli Alberighi. What role did the falcon play in Federigo’s life and what happened to it when the man fell in love with the noble woman Giovanna? Let us retell the plot first, and then turn to the discussion about the role of the falcon in the novella.