The Plague: A Great Mortality Essay

The Plague: A Great Mortality Essay

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When the black death mysteriously and suddenly hit Europe, it spread at an unbelievable speed leaving almost no city untouched. The citizens of fourteenth century Europe were unsure of how to cope with half the population being wiped out in such a short time span. What had caused this “great mortality”? Who was really to blame for their suffering? How were they to overcome it? While being overwhelmed with sickness and a number of dilemmas stemming from it, many societies became weak and eventually fell apart.
The black death is suspected to have begun around the year of 1331 (Reedy, “The Bubonic Plague” 1). The disease started in inner Asia where it was picked up and spread by rats (Reedy, “The Bubonic Plague” 1). The rats and other various species of the rodent family would have caught the infection from fleas that carried the Y. pestis virus (Reedy, “The Bubonic Plague” 1). The rodents then carried these fleas and their virus across Europe where the fleas spread to human hosts.
As the bacteria spread through the body, the recipient temperature would rise accompanied by a flood of other uncomfortable symptoms. In the most common form called Bubonic plague, the victim had “bubos or pus filled hard swellings” in the groin, neck, armpit, three of the places a persons lymph nodes are found. (Reedy, The Bubonic Plague” 1). These bubos contained the bacilli or bacteria that was the plague. A bubo could sometimes become as large as an orange, making it possible to see the bacilli moving through the victims skin (Reedy, “The Bubonic Plague” 1).
In Camus' novel, “The Plague”, he tells a fictional story about a port town in France that has been infected by the Plague. Camus' detail in recounting the symptoms the people face as a pla...


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...d as it became less popular, roles in society were switched around. Because so many of the wealthy citizens were killed by the plague, the serfs and pesants were able to take over their estates (Reedy, History Channel). With this came the problem of a shortage of lower class to work the large amount of land (Reedy, History Channel). As society began to pick itself up after such a devistation, they then understand that a dependancy on God is vital to survival although life may not always carry an easy load.


Works Cited
Kelly, John. The Great Mortality. New York: Harper Perennial. 2005. PRINT.
Reedy, Thomas. “Camus' The PlaguePart 1 Study Guide”. PRINT.
Reedy, Thomas. “Camus' The PlaguePart 2 Study Guide”. PRINT.
Reedy, Thomas. “The Bubonic Plague (Balck Death/Great Mortality) of the Middle Ages”. PRINT.
Reedy, Thomas. “The Plague DVD: History Channel”. PRINT.

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