Post Plague Social, Economic, and Historical Characteristics of Chaucer’s Pilgrims

Post Plague Social, Economic, and Historical Characteristics of Chaucer’s Pilgrims

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Post Plague Social, Economic, and Historical Characteristics of Chaucer’s Pilgrims

Waking up to the familiar sounds of a small English town is no longer an option. The stench of death permeates every inch of existence. Peering out of the window, afraid of stepping outside into the pestilence formerly known as home, you gaze past the mounds of rotting townspeople who used to be known as friends. Every breath catches, because breathing too deep may be too risky. A disease of unknown origin plagues the countryside farther than you can travel in a lifetime. Thoughts run through your mind as you watch your suffering family. The only chance to save them is to confess your sins in hopes that God’s wrath will end with you. There is nothing; everything you have known for all of your life is gone. And there is silence.

Throughout the late Middle Ages, there were many historical landmarks that affected the world in which we now live. These landmarks include the Great Schism, the Hundred Years War, the Renaissance, and most infamous, the Black Plague (Given-Wilson 4). The plague is now believed to have infringed upon European peoples due to the ecological changes in Asia. These changes forced wild rodents carrying the Yersinia pestis bacillus into heavily populated European towns (Horrox 5). Through trade, fleas and rodents carrying this bacillus made their way into English society. Three forms of the plague ran rampant throughout England: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicaemic. The bubonic plague was most notorious due to the visual dark spots located in the armpits and groin area called buboes. In Latin, Bubo means owl: just like owls, buboes preferred the dark places on the body (Given-Wilson 97).

The first epidemic began in 1347 an...


... middle of paper ...


..., economical, and historical implications changed or affected the lives of every person during the fourteenth century and for centuries to come.

Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Trans. Nevill Coghill. London: Penguin
Books, 1977.

Given-Wilson, Chris, ed. An Illustrated History of Late Medieval England.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996.

Horrox, Rosemary, ed. The Black Death. Manchester: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

Lambdin, Laura C., and Robert T. Lambdin, eds. Chaucer’s Pilgrims: An Illustrated
Historical Guide to the Pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996.

Williman, Daniel, ed. The Black Death: The Impact of the Fourteenth Century
Plague. New York: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1982.

Ziegler, Philip. The Black Death. New York: The John Day Company, 1969.

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