The Plague

Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Plague - 1233 words

The Plague The rats did it! Rats, almost single handedly, killed off about a third of theEuropean population throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. Its effects on westerncivilization still lasts today, but for the people who lived during the plagues wish indeedthat they did not. Society was depressed, the economy was struggling, food was scarce, and all of Europe was in battle. Who would want to live in these dramatic conditions? No one, and not for centuries to come. The Plague, also known as the Black Death, or the Bubonic Plague, which struck in 1346, and again in 1361-62, ravaged all of Europe to the extent of bringing gruesome death to millions people of the Middle Ages. It was a combination of bubonic, septicemia, and pneumonic plague strains that started in the east and worked it's way west, but never left its native home.

One of the things that made the plague one of the worst was that there were outbreaks almost every ten years but still restricted to Europe. It is thought that one third to one half of the population in Europe could have possibly died due to the plague with some towns of a death rate of up to 30 or 40 percent. Very few that were infected with the plague actually survived more than one month after receiving the disease. The Black Death was an incredible event that effected everyone on a physical level, emotional level, or both. The Black Death was more terrible, and killed more people than any war in history

The plague was so horrible and terrifying that people said it made all other disasters in the Middle Ages seem like a walk in the park when compared it to the Black Death. The infested rat, called the black ship rat, was carried in the baggage of merchants on board ships traveling all over the Mediterranean. They didn't know it, butIt was the people that actually spread the disease across the land. The plague spread in a great arc across Europe, starting in the east in the Mediterranean Sea, and ending up in Germany. It is incredible that the plague hit Europe several times, but still no one understood neither the causes nor the treatments of the epidemic. Although the Black Death was one of the largest epidemics ever recorded, it did not have many visible symptoms.

The actual symptoms varied in different parts of the continent. The most ordinary symptoms were black tumors or boils on your neck, and the coughing up of blood. One thing about coughing up blood that made the plague even worse, was that when you coughed up blood, everyone in the room was susceptible to the disease. This allowed the plague to spread even more quickly and easily. The Black Death had more than just physical effects; it effected every part of life.

It also had more extensive effects over the course of many years to come in western civilization. This complex disease effected society, religion, the economy, agriculture, art and architecture and most of all, the future. For two generations after the plague there was almost no increase in the population of Europe, while the rest of the world's population continued to grow. After the plague had passed, Europe seemed to suffer from a case of collective shell shock. This made it look like all of Europe was hit by a deadly stun gun, but the stun never wore off. What scared the people was that the Black Death took more lives than an army, and gave its victims no chance to fight back. The Black Death had many different social and religious effects on the common people of Europe. Some people dreaded the time when the plague would come, and some people just understood what was happening and let the plague take its course.

Although all the people suffered, the peasants suffered the most. This is because they lived in such unsanitary conditions and had the least care. In many places whole villages of peasants were wiped out completely, and in less than one month. The Black Death, along with seven other plagues and diseases of the Middle Ages, was considered contagious. Being that they were contagious, a victim of any plague or disease was forbidden to enter a city unless under separation.

Many peopleactually thought that the Black Death was a punishment to society because they were wicked, and because they did not repent for their sins. Although the people withstood many effects, the social consequences were surely less striking. Not only were the people struck in many ways, but they were also astounded, terrified, and bewildered of this secretive beast lurking in every place they go. Many people sat around and faced the fact that they would eventually be taken in by the plague, and some tried to do something about it, religiously. Many people, religious or not, tried to take refuge in Godly practices.

Some tried easing their conscience through exaggerated penance or others doubled their devotions and encouraged revivals. Almost all people thought they would live through the plague if they gave into the surge of religious hysteria. This served not to be true in most cases. Since people were dying left and right, it should be expected that there would be a decrease in available labor. So now there are half as many peasants to do the work, and the same amount of fields.

This amounted to too much work to do, and little peasants to do the work. Everything was being ruined, overrun, or neglected because of this sudden, but expected shortage of workers. The peasants saw this happening and they knew they could receive something good out of the situation on hand. The laborers also saw that they were on demand, and so they demanded higher wages. Now that wages rose, prices rose along with it.

The mortality rate of the region not only produced a labor shortage, but a sudden increase in the income per household. When the plague had ended, half of the workers on the estates of the nobles in England disappeared. You could see that the Black Death shook the entire agricultural and commercial structure of the west. The decrease of construction in the 14th century could be seen along with the cathedrals started in the 12th and 13th centuries and never finished because of the plague. The effects on the future were not as bad as the effects the 14th century people experienced. After the plague had set in on Europe and took its toll the people began to stop writing and in turn stop reading. The citizens became illiterate and showed no real interest in the arts. The European population steadily declined after 1350 for the next century. In 1351, it was calculated that the total number of dead in Europe was approximately twenty-four million people.

That is a great decrease considering that there was an estimated seventy-five million people living in Europe before the Black Death struck. The Plague certainly had one of the greatest effects on the world in all areas, and was also one of the greatest displays of human suffering ever. The Plague caused the people of western civilization to lose family, food, society, and basic fundamentals of living. It seems that bad or depressing situations give us a grasp on what is really important in our daily lives, and that is what we all need.

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