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The Bubonic Plague And The Great Fire Of London

1502 words - 6 pages

The Bubonic Plague and the Great Fire of London Two disasters struck London during the 1660s with the first being an
outbreak of bubonic plague, the last and worst of a series that had
started in the 1300s. The latter disaster was the great fire of London
in which a Bakery broke out in flames near to the London Bridge when
many of London's houses became sources of combustion as the fire took
hold of their wooden structures. Various source materials exist for
the events of the 1660s which include history books, biographies,
autobiographies and narratives, of which one source of history
material is the diary of Samuel Pepys, which shows hundreds of scenes
from his life including civil servants committees, Members of
Parliament in debate, concerts and music, friends on a river outing,
assignations that he attended, domestic tiffs, and current national
issues. Pepys diary is composed of his observations of people instead
of just facts and figures, that help a reader to relate to and share
his life experiences. I think this creates a quality historical
record.

For my study on Pepys diary I am going to re-write and explain two
extracts from his diary in the form of modern English. The first
extract is the 27-28 December 1664. "I went to bed leaving my wife
with all her family. I awoke at 6am to find that my wife had not yet
come to bed and I had no pot to go to the toilet in. I was forced to
go in the chimney in the bitter cold before going back to sleep. I
awoke again at 8am as my wife came to bed, this annoyed me a little
but I did not act on this as Elizabeth had only been merrymaking." The
second is an extract from the 25 October 1668. "My wife came up
suddenly when she caught me embracing Debs with my hand under her coat
and in her fanny. She was speechless but looked angry as Debs and I
tried to make out nothing had happened. Elizabeth said little but did
not sleep all night from her self-punishment that she felt from her
now knowing of my betrayal."

Samuel shows little feelings for his wife Elizabeth throughout his
diary. As both extracts show his attitude and treatment towards
Elizabeth could be common of the attitudes of other men in the 17th
century. The stereotypical role for most women was to marry young,
also, women were not as well educated as their husbands and were
therefore thought of as second class citizens. Other women were not so
fortunate and became housemaids rather than marry. As there were
arranged marriages in the 17th century Samuel had married Elizabeth,
who was fortunate as she was the daughter of a Huguenot (a French
protestant). Traditionally marriages were made on social class in
relation to status and education, or alternatively it was as a
...

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