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Response Paper on the Black Death

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In the year of 1348, In Constantinople, one of the worst catastrophes recorded in history was occurring and killing thousands of people. This catastrophe was a deadly plague changing lives forever. My name is Angela Dunes, and I am twenty-five years old. I am the wife of Charles Dunes, a very successful merchant. My husband is always traveling around to trade and that is how he gained a great education. His education came from meeting and talking to so many different people who belonged to a variety of different places. Due to him being a merchant, and doing a lot of traveling, he was very literate. We got married in 1343 and up until we got married, I did not know how to read of write. In the last four years, he has taught me how to read and write and that is how I can write now.

This illness was affecting people left and right and no one knew where it had come from. Not only were people affected but so were animals. The worst part about it was no one could escape this illness and neither doctors nor medicine could help either. This illness brought so much fear into everyone’s lives because when it came into your house there was no way to escape. My biggest fear was the death reaching our household. I could not imagine losing my husband, or our 3 year old son. Unfortunately, the death reached our household, and we had no idea where it came from. My son was the first person to get the illness, and then my husband. Next thing I knew, my son had something behind his knee caps and under his armpits that appeared to be some type of lumps. Then when I went to check on him when he was sleeping, I noticed the drool that was coming out of his mouth onto his pillow was blood mixed with saliva. The mixture of the lumps and the blood mixed saliva, was the perfect indicator that the illness had come for him.

Like I mentioned before, neither doctors nor medication could cure this illness. Therefore, usually the caretakers of those suffering this illness eventually died too. As parents of a young child, all we wanted to do was help our little boy, our first born and only born son at this time. Being only married for a couple years we were hoping to have more children that our beloved little boy could be the big brother to. We were not going to let go of our child, so as parents would we tended to him and cared for him. For some miraculous reason I was lucky enough to not catch the illness however, my husband did. This was when I truly noticed that the only way to escape death was to vanish and never come back to the place that was killing so many people, animals, and the ones I love the most. I left some cakes and water on their bedside tables in hopes that they would have a few more days. Then, against all my values and deepened love I have towards them, I had to abandon them. Moments after I left them, I learned that my poor son, only beginning to learn what life had in store for him had passed and a couple days later my husband died too.

Losing the ones that I love with all my heart was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. However, I knew that my son and my husband would want me to stay strong and strive to survive and so I did. Huge pits were dug near churches where dead bodies were thrown into on top of one of another, then a pile of dirt and more bodies on top. All this reminded me of was a layered cake. Those of which I loved to eat were now my worst enemy. Once I heard about their passing, I could not return to their bodies so I paid someone a large amount of money to take care of their bodies.

Due to this terrible illness and the deaths of so many people and animals, the city of Constantinople changed forever. Serfs were freed and worked for others for a very high pay. Their living improved tremendously, something we would have never imagined in a million years. I had to take over my husband’s shops because he was no longer there to run them and as this happened, I realized that this epidemic caused the economy to undergo extreme inflation. Foods that were used for the sick, like cakes and water, became very expensive. Eggs and poultry became rare to find because animals were dying and those that were the caretakers of the animals were dying. The price of cloth became almost ten times as much as it was



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