Plagues And Epidemics

Plagues And Epidemics

Length: 1153 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Plagues and Epidemics


     Humans are remarkably good at finding a religious scapegoat for their
problems. There has always been someone to blame for the difficulties we face in
life, such as war, famine, and more relevant, disease. Hitler blames the Jews
for economical woes in a corrupt Germany long after the Romans held the
Christians responsible for everything wrong in a crumbling, has-been empire. In
the fourteenth century, when Plague struck Europe, it was blamed on "…
unfavorable astrological combinations or malignant atmospheres…" (handout p2),
and even "…deliberate combination by witches, Moslems (an idea proposed by
Christians), Christians (proposed by Moslems) and Jews (proposed by both
groups)." (H p2) The point is, someone was to blame even when the obvious
reasons, flea ridden rats, were laying dead on the streets. As time progressed
to the twentieth century, there have been few if any exceptions made to this
phenomena. In the case of Oran, the people raced to find a culprit for the
sudden invasion of their town, which became the unrepentant man. This is one of
Camus’ major themes; The way a society deals with an epidemic is to blame it one
someone else. Twenty years ago, when AIDS emerged in the US, homosexual men
became the target of harsh and flagrant discrimination, and even today are still
held accountable by some beliefs. While we may no longer lynch in the nineties,
we do accuse innocent groups, like the gay male population, for the birth and
explosion of AIDS in our society. Given, there are some differences between each
respective situation, but there are striking similarities that cannot be ignored.

     As the Plague invaded the town of Oran, the people quarantined within
its walls began to look to their leaders for answers. Most likely these people
had trouble believing that such an awful thing was happening to them, and needed
someone to point the finger at. In the meantime, Father Paneloux was preparing a
speech to answer the questions and fears that surrounded him, and probably vexed
him as well. The truth is, his speech was as much therapeutic as it was didactic,
and in winning the opinion of the public he could calm his own fears. " If today
the plague is in your midst, that is because the hour has struck for taking
thought. The just man need have no fear, but the evildoer has good cause to
tremble." (p95) Paneloux is passing the blame, but in a very intriguing way.
"You believed some brief formalities, some bendings of the knee, would
recompense Him well enough for you criminal indifference.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Plagues And Epidemics." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=81563>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Book Review of Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeill Essay

- William H. McNeill makes a monumental contribution to the knowledge of humanity in his book Plagues and Peoples. He looks at the history of the world from an ecological point of view. From this viewpoint the history of human civilization is greatly impacted by changing patterns of epidemic infection. Plagues and Peoples suggests that "the time scale of world history...should [be] viewed [through] the "domestication" of epidemic disease that occurred between 1300 and 1700" (page 232). "Domestication" is perceived "as a fundamental breakthrough, directly resulting from the two great transportation revolutions of that age - one by land, initiated by the Mongols, and one by sea, initiated by Eu...   [tags: Book Reviews Plagues and Peoples]

Research Papers
1646 words (4.7 pages)

Plagues in England: Death Is in the Air Essay

- ... In just a week, the plague took 7,165 people’s lives; the total death toll was near 70,000 (Great 1). One account of this plague is found in Defoe’s “Great Plague in London” which states: Another ran about naked, except a pair of drawers about his waist, crying day and night. As a man that Josephus mentions, who cried, "Woe to Jerusalem!" a little dreadful God!" and said no more, but repeated these words continually, with a voice and countenance full of horror, a swift pace; and nobody could ever find him to stop or rest or take any sustenance, at least that ever I could hear of....   [tags: sickness, economy, culture, conditions]

Research Papers
685 words (2 pages)

Essay on Why Plagues?

- There are many wonders in the world like disease and sickness and sometimes they can cause pain and suffering. As a child I would sometimes wonder why we had cancer or sickness, I always felt like we had enough to go through with death. Death is a big part of our lives so much that no matter how we look at it or how we don’t want to die there is nothing we can do about it. So why can’t we live are days in good health until we reach that age and go to sleep forever. In the early days people lived in fear of plagues because in those days plagues would kill hundreds of thousands of people....   [tags: evil,]

Research Papers
1304 words (3.7 pages)

The plagues in England Essay

- ... Yersinia pestis lives in the digestive tract of the fleas. So then they only live off black rats also known as Rattus rattus. The other rodents carry infected fleas, but those fleas don’t tend to bite humans. The Yersinia pestis can survive in manure an old nest or even bales for as long as twelve months that’s a whole year. If plague is evolved within the flea and rat population it is called enzootic. As the plague multiplies, it blocks the passage of blood to the flea’s stomach then threatens starvation; the flea disgorges blood that is infected with many bacilli into the bloodstream of its entertainer, causing death....   [tags: bubonic, pneumonic, pulmonary, black death]

Research Papers
1052 words (3 pages)

Epidemics and the Spanish Conquest of Mexico Essay

- The Aztec and Mesoamerican indigenous civilizations were some of the most well developed pre-industrial civilizations with populations averaging approximately twenty million prior to Spanish conquest (Marr and Kiracoffe 2000). These same civilizations were also witness to one of the worst demographic tragedies in human history seeing population losses of almost ninety percent, down to one million inhabitants a century after conquest (Marr and Kiracoffe). These demographic tragedies were in the form of epidemics of both New and Old World origin and as a result of and major contributing factors to the success of the Spanish Conquest of the region....   [tags: the aztec, mesoamerican civilization]

Research Papers
1854 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Epidemics and the Control of Disease around the 1840s

- Epidemics and the Control of Disease around the 1840s In Andrea Barrett's "Ship Fever", we get a historical fiction approach to ships and disease in the mid-nineteenth century. We encounter such diseases as Dysentery, Dropsy, and Ship Fever; most likely being Yellow fever. Another disease mentioned in the novella is auge, which is most likely the same or similar to Dengue fever or Black fever. Let's briefly talk about each of these before moving on to their role in the story. Dysentery is caused by the Shigella species of bacteria....   [tags: Research Diseases Health papers]

Research Papers
1221 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Excessie Use of Antibiotics

- Excessive use of Antibiotics Over the years humans have tried every possibility to overcome the health problems, spread of epidemics and infections, disease control and have worked towards a healthy society free of disease and health problems. They have succeeded to a great extent. The book “Good germs, bad germs” describes that though the life expectancy is now far more as it was in previous eras. Epidemic problems and infectious diseases are now getting lesser and lesser and humans are being treated successfully....   [tags: Health Problems, Epidemics, Infections, Disease]

Research Papers
1580 words (4.5 pages)

Epidemics and Pandemics throughout History Essay

- When looking back on history, it is evident to see that humans by nature are warriors. Humans often find themselves fighting mysterious battles against disguised enemies. Throughout history the earth has been afflicted with mysterious diseases, which tend to invisibly cause the preponderance of civilizations to perish. The evolution of infectious diseases has and always will provide challenges for humankind (Hoff, Smith, and Calisher 6-7). Over the course of time, humans gradually developed a preference to live in large urban settings....   [tags: Communicable Disease, Black Plague]

Research Papers
1945 words (5.6 pages)

Essay about The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in China

- China is known as a conservative country where homosexuality, drug use, and premarital sex are not acknowledged as common practices and are not considered problems. However, China is going through a period of rapid social transformation where these practices are becoming visible and being acknowledged by the Chinese. Recently, Chinese officials have recognized and admitted that the country is experiencing a widespread outbreak of HIV/AIDS. Previously, China adopted the position that there was little to no HIV/AIDS in the country, but now officials are admitting that they do in fact have a large population of citizens with HIV/AIDS....   [tags: Epidemics]

Research Papers
806 words (2.3 pages)

Infectious Disease Epidemics Essay

- Throughout human history disease has been linked to many facets of life and even the rise and fall of entire civilizations. Biological, social, political and economic forces have all influenced how the outbreak of disease is handled. Epidemics have altered history in how they have developed and the impact that they have had. In turn, epidemic management has been influenced by history and governments as humans have learned to cope with outbreaks and the social and political implications that result from them....   [tags: Disease ]

Research Papers
1553 words (4.4 pages)

Related Searches

But God is not
mocked." (p97) He has found the blame, the weak observer of Christ, but in the
end, especially in a heavily religious town like Oran, believes they are that
person? Who in the city, after reflecting upon their record of attendance at
church, could find it possible to blame themselves? In his sermon, Paneloux did
not point out a specific group as the cause such as the lower class, but
associated the plague with a general group that is fundamentally vague. It is an
interesting way of passing the blame, in such a manner that puts no certain
group in danger. The fact is that taking into consideration the townspeople’s
manic state of paranoia, to accuse one particular group would be murder. If
Paneloux told the masses that the street cleaners brought the Plague, each and
every one of them would be strung up on the closest available tree. It seems
that Oran provided the blueprints for the AIDS epidemic, relative to how even
today, parts of our society still blame who we feel is a lesser group for the
disease.
     In the late seventies, AIDS began its invasion of the US population. For
years it confined itself to the gay community, but as the new decade arrived it
was spreading much more effectively, as heterosexuals, dirty needles, and
infected blood transfusions became efficient avenues for the virus to change
hosts. However, at this time the public was hardly educated about AIDS. They
knew little if anything about how it was spread. In fact, all they really knew
was that the disease is one hundred percent fatal, contagious, and carried
mostly by gay males. Interestingly enough, until the AIDS virus broke into the
heterosexual community, in general no one really bothered themselves with it.
This may be because so little was known about it, even in medical circles, but
there is a definite connection to a "hear no evil, speak no evil" attitude. The
virus was not affecting the straight community, so why bother? However, when
people in the workplace, friends and family began to get sick, panic struck
swiftly. Someone was to blame, and many found specific groups, like homosexuals,
junkies and prostitutes excellent focal points for a certain frustration that
comes from a state of helplessness. These three groups, representing the gutter
of society, were an easy target because the had no leverage in society. The
general public needed a scapegoat, and they had found it. Gays were the foremost
to be blamed, mostly because sodomy is defined In the bible as a grievous sin,
following the story of Sodom. People called the disease "God’s revenge", His way
to erase an abomination of his creation. Again, this case is remarkably similar
to Oran, because while Father Paneloux blamed it on a much more general group,
it was still a group that angered God, and brought forth his wrath. Even
industry supported this absurd theory, as an infamous T-shirt, using the RAID
bug spray logo, read instead, "AIDS, kills fags dead.", as opposed to "RAID,
kills bugs dead." In short, society had found its scapegoat, and would not let
it go. E ven today, after all we’ve learned about the disease, all we’ve found
to be true and untrue, gays are still blamed by some for bringing AIDS into
society, just as the unrepentant man was blamed for bringing the Plague into
Oran.
     When an epidemic like AIDS or the Plague attacks a city, state or
country, society deals with it by finding someone to blame it on. People stab in
the dark for the reason problems like AIDS befall them, and religion often
dictates who they will blame. It is a never ending tennis match, where the ball
is the blame being bounced back and fourth, while little or no effort is made to
remedy the situation. The Japanese have a saying, which translates, "when an
archer misses a target, he can only blame himself, and not the target." This is
a great expression, and makes a lot of sense. However, it is rarely followed in
our society, especially when an epidemic strikes. While we should be finding
ways to cure it, prevent it, learn about it, and come to terms with it, all we
seem capable of doing is finding someone to blame for it.
Return to 123HelpMe.com