The Bubonic Plague: Black Death

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Tammi Collins English Comp II Section 7/Paper 6 April 30, 2012 The Bubonic Plague, also known as Black Death, is one of the most powerful epidemics known to mankind and its impact on the Elizabethan Era resulted in countless deaths and left millions begging for death. No one knew this better than William Shakespeare, this tragic epidemic affected his life and work in an inconceivable way he lost family, his grief later comes his work, and the plague closes theaters forcing him to leave. Shakespeare’s experienced the loss of the Bubonic Plague first hand he lost three brothers and sisters and a son. Even after his death the Bubonic Plague continued to take his family when his grandson dies from the plague. William was…show more content…
(Alchin) Shakespeare published no elegies and left no result of his paternal feelings. Parents in Shakespeare’s time could not devote too much love and hope in a child due to the plague. Death was a familiar event to Shakespeare. In the four years following Hamnet’s death, Shakespeare wrote some of his finest comedies: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It. If there is no link between the works and the death of Hamnet, there is, at the very least, no reason to think that Shakespeare simply buried his son and moved on unscathed. He might have brooded inwardly and obsessively, even as he was making audiences laugh. It is implausible that it took years for the trauma of his son’s death fully to erupt in his work or that it was triggered by an accidental conjunction of names. For Hamnet and Hamlet are in fact similar names. Throughout the play Hamlet, Shakespeare displays many underlying references to disease in the opening scene, Horatio makes an interesting statement: "As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse." (Shakespeare) He compared…show more content…
Although, Shakespeare must have still been brooding in late 1600 and early 1601, when he sat down to write a tragedy whose doomed hero bore the name of his dead son. The death of his son was a crisis of mourning and memory—could have caused a mental disturbance that helps to explain the explosive power and inwardness of Hamlet. There were constant outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague and every time this occurred the theatres were shut down. This eventually sent Shakespeare away from the diesese infected areas. Shakespeare may have never been infected with the Bubonic Plague but almost every aspect of life was affected by this plague. From the death of family, to the way he portrayed his emotions in his work, to the closing of theaters, Shakespeare felt every effect the plague left on the Elizabethan Era. These effects left Shakespeare with a lifelong fear of the

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