The Bubonic Plague In The 19th Century

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The Black Death was a disease which spread across Europe in the fourteen century, killing a great part of its population, and making the illness the worst natural disaster on the European continent. The Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, was caused by a bacteria which spread through infected fleas living on rats (Mulch). After the rat died from the bacteria, the fleas would turn to people infecting them instead since the rats lived in the villages and towns especially on the ships (Fiero). After three days of incubation the illness spread to the lymph nodes, swelling into blisters commonly in the armpit, neck, and groin area (Mulch). People infected died five days after incubation of the illness. The Black Death had numerous changes in religion, …show more content…

People started to question their belief in religion because the church could not save society from the disease (Whipps). Doctors could not understand the source and the cause of the disease and how it was transmitted, making people believe that supernatural powers and divine punishment were the reason of the illness. Some doctors believed the disease was due to the pollution of the air with toxic material. Society also blamed the church for failing to protect the people and its own priesthood, leading to a loss of influence and power (Whipps). Society believed the plague was sent by God as a punishment for sins. People lost their faith in higher power and started to blame specific ethnic groups as responsible for the Black Death. One of the religious and ethnic groups accused of spread the plague were the Jews because most of them were merchants and the infected rats came from the ships (Mulch).
The Black Death also resulted in severe economic decline. Social effects of the Black Death were felt instantly after the outbreaks ended (Wilde). The survivors benefited from a labor shortage giving the servants the choice to select for whom to work. The great loss of life in Europe created an excess of goods, a drop in prices, more jobs, an increase in salaries, and a better standard of living. The disease also disrupted trades and stopped manufacturing as experienced and skilled merchants and artisans died along …show more content…

The painting in oil that resides in the Museo Del Prado in Madrid, Spain, demonstrates Death as a skeleton riding on a horse leading an army of executioners to attack and kill humanity without discriminating (Museo Nacional Del Prado). The painting also shows different characters such as a king, a priest, a couple, and a knight getting slaughtered. Interestingly, only one figure in the bottom right is preparing to use his sword to fight back Death. This kind of imagery is reminiscent of the medieval series known as the Dance of Death. The fear of Death horrors, comparable to the visions shown in Bruegel’s “The Triumph of Death,” were familiar to European society during the time of the Black Death (Museo Nacional Del Prado).
There is no escape from the war with Death in “The Triumph of Death.” Men and women in the landscape on fire attempt to run away from death but they are outnumbered and their efforts are useless. Artists like Bruegel, during the Black Death never tired of showing their audiences and viewers that death is perversely creative and at the same time unavoidable and cruel to civilization (Museo Nacional Del

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