Reply To: Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year

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The Great Plague: A Summon to Thankfulness
Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of life during The Great Plague in 1665 London. Defoe writes about the rumors of the plague and the secrecy surrounding them. The rumors begin to spiral around town but are finally cemented by the weekly bill of mortality. Throughout this excerpt, the bill of mortality serves to update citizens about the status of the city. As the infection begins to take more lives, the origin of the disease becomes inconsistent. Some believe that wizardry had a part citing a comet as the source of this belief. Others insisted that the events were “warnings of God’s judgments.” Even still, some trusted that the source of misery was not supernatural but that of natural causes. As deaths increased from hundreds to thousands, all seemed to agree that the cause of the plague was in fact by God’s judgments and the only solution was to confess your sins. As “consciences were awakened” and the confessions persisted, “the merciful disposition of God” prevailed. Deaths plummeted and citizens rejoiced in the omnipotent power of God. Defoe’s writing serves to describe his devotion to a higher power during times of death and sadness.

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