These stories, it must be remembered, are nothing more than stories.
Their existence is in the scope and breadth of the detail with which Shahrazad tells them.
While neither story by Chaucer or Boccaccio may seem to have anything to tie it directly to its sociohistorical moment, Thompson argues that both stories were intended to suggest the notion of an ideal love (280), which might inspire or encourage people who were suffering from the psychological impact of the plague.
Indeed, the plague is the ever-present but rarely spoken about backdrop to both Boccaccio’s and Chaucer’s tales.
From the opening lines of Boccaccio’s tale, in which the narrator observes that women, in one of the important quotes from The Decameron, “suffer not their hands to stray from their girdles” (para.
3), to the closing image of Nicholas farting in Absoloun’s face, thus causing the naïve John to fall from his tub on the roof, the reader is treated to constant entertainment, albeit of a vulgar sort.
The degree of influence that Boccaccio’s work may have exerted over the literary production of Chaucer has been contested for many years in the scholarly literature (Thompson 1-2); however, some critics contend that this debate is irresolvable and readers should focus instead on the works themselves to the exclusion of personal considerations about the authors (Edwards 11).
When the reader follows this advice, he or she is able to identify at least three similarities in these authors’ stories, which may be attributable as much to the historic moment in which they lived and the literary standards of the day rather than any alleged plagiarism on Chaucer’s part.
Her story than takes us from a knight that raped a young maiden, to an old women that becomes his future wife. The importance of storytelling is significant as a part of the fisherman’s life in The Arabian Nights, just as much as fishing or his family would be.
This clearly shows the power of magic or magical realism in these stories.