There has been much discussion concerning the significance of the names Boccaccio has given to his narrators - allegorical representations of the seven virtues, symbols of other moral qualities, or just characters that have populated Boccaccio's earlier works. It has been said that Elissa represents either "hope" (Kirkham) or "justice" (Ferrante) and also that she is very young and dominated by a violent passion. Paden suggests that she is the sole recognizable Ghibelline of the group.
The first glimpse of Elissa's character comes in the Introduction of the First Day in which Pampinea has suggested to the other women her plan for fleeing the city in order in an attempt to save their own lives and to return to a somewhat ordered and rational existence. Filomena agrees that this is a good idea but she believes since they are all women and, by nature, "fickle, quarrelsome, suspicious, cowardly, and easily frightened," they will never succeed in their venture.
It is here that Elissa speaks up: she agrees that women are unsuited and unable to act without male guidance but, she wonders, where will they find suitable male companions. She fears for the safety of the group and is concerned about any possible scandal related to traveling with a group of men.
Elissa's Introductory Remarks:
Many of the comments made by the Narrator when, in the transition at the beginning of each novella, he introduces its narrator, follow the same rhetorical model: the members of the brigata are always eager to begin their stories and oblige the command of the Queen or King of the Day. This is true in the treatment of Elissa as well insofar as she generally obeys the day's ruler yet, in the Introduction to Day Three, she assumes an insolent attitude from which we can deduce some features of Elissa's "aristocratic" character. Is she reacting to the anti-ghibelline sentiments of the previous stories told in that day?
- The King of Cyprus is transformed, on receiving a sharp rebuke from a lady of Gascony, from a weakling into a man of courage (I.9).
- The Count of Antwerp, being falsely accused, goes into exile and leaves his two children in different parts of England. Unknown to them, he returns to find them comfortably placed. Then he serves as a groom in the army of the King of France and, having established his innocence, is restored to his former rank (II.8).
- Zima presents a palfrey to Messer Francesco Vergellesi, who responds by granting him permission to converse with his wife. She is unable to speak, but Zima answers on her behalf, and in due course his reply comes true (III.5).
- Gerbino, violating a pledge given by his grandfather, King William, attacks a ship belonging to the King of Tunis with the object of abducting the latter's daughter. She is killed by those aboard the ship, he kills them and afterwards is beheaded (IV.4).
- As Pietro Boccamazza flees with Agnolella, they encounter some brigands. The girl takes refuge in a forest and is taken to a castle. Pietro is captured by the brigands but escapes from their clutches and, after one or two further adventures, he reaches the castle where Agnolella is, marries her and returns with her to Rome (V.3).
- With a barbed saying, Guido Cavalcanti politely delivers an insult to certain Florentine gentlemen who had taken him by surprise (VI.9).
- Friar Rinaldo goes to bed with his godchild's mother. Her husband finds them together in the bedroom, and they give him to understand that the friar was charming away the child's worms (VII.3).
- Calandrino, Bruno and Buffalmacco set off in search of the heliotrope along the banks of Mugnone. Thinking he has found it, Calandrino staggers home, carrying an enormous load of stones, and his wife gives him a piece of her mind, causing him to lose his temper and beat her. Finally, he tells his companions what they have known all along (VIII.3).
- An abbess rises hurriedly from her bed in the dark when it is reported to her that one of her nuns is in bed with a lover. But being with a priest at the time, the Abbess claps his breeches on her head, mistaking them for her headdress. On pointing this out to the Abbess, the accused nun is set at liberty and thenceforth she is able to meet with her lover at her leisure (IX.2).
- Ghino di Tacco captures the Abbot of Cluny, cures him of a stomach ailment, and then releases him. The Abbot returns to the court of Rome, where he reconciles Ghino with Pope Boniface and dubs him Knight Hospitaller (X.2).
- Day 6: Elissa sings the song that closes the day.