Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Black Death


In class, we looked at two different short articles discussing stories of the Black Death.  The Black Death was a deadly and contagios disease that swept over Europe, killing thousands of people.  In 1338, when the plague started, there was no vaccine to stop the fast spreading disease that was transferred through the someone coughing on someone else or through trade between countries.  The two passages, The Florentine Chronicle and The Decameron we read are about the Black Death.

The first passage we read was The Florentine Chronicle by di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti.  It was written in the late 1370's, about 20 years after The Black Death started in Florence.  The author of this piece was born in 1336 in Florence and experienced the plague when he was two years old.  He survived and wrote this passage about The Black Death 20 years after he experienced it.  This short passage is about how the plague took everyone away from their families and once it entered a house, none remained.  It also mentions how that there was nothing you could do about it but help care for the sick and bury your dead family members.  The author says "it was said" in the beginning of the passage, meaning that he does not remember details on the Plague but that's what others told him.  One reason why this is believable is because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti was in Florence at the time when the Black Death hit Florence in 1338.  One reason why this passage isn't believable is because he was only two when it happened so might not remember it all.

The second passage we read was The Decameron by Boccaccio and doesn't have the published date on it.  Boccaccio was alive during the Black Death, when it struck in 1348.  Boccaccio was not in Florence at the time of the plague.  In this short passage, Boccaccio discusses the death of a man being dragged through the streets by two hogs.  Boccaccio's passage, Decameron, is a piece of fiction.  He writes it based on what he's heard happened to people affected by the Plague and how towns and citizens reacted to it. One reason why this passage is believable is because Boccaccio knew what it was like to live during that time period, even though he didn't necessarily experience.  Others might think it's not believable for some other reasons.  One reason is because this piece is fictional and he made up the plot line.  Another reason why people might not think it's believable is because Boccaccio didn't witness the Black Death in Florence like di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti did.

My opinion is that The Florentine Chronicle is most believable.  One reason why I think this passage is more believable over Decameron is because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiti was in Florence during the Black Death, where as in Decameron, Boccaccio was not in Florence to experience it.  Another reason why The Florentine Chronicle is more believable than Decameron isn because di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti got the information from others who remembered the Plague (because he was only two) and Boccaccio made up the plot line.  Both passages discuss the horrific Black Death, but I think that The Florentine Chronicle by di Coppo Di Stefano Buonaiuti is more believable than Decameron by Boccaccio.

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