1. The Decameron
1 (a). Where did the plague begin and spread?
The plague began in Asia and was caused by rats, it was transmitted to humans through the bites of fleas.
1 (b). What two possible causes does Boccaccio suggest for such a terrible event?
Boccaccio suggests that the plague started through the influence of heavenly bodies or because of God’s anger for our wicked deeds. 2. How did people behave toward those who were sick? Why? People who were not affected by the plague completely isolated themselves from the sick. The healthy did not help the sick, so if a person were to become infected they would receive no help and would be left for dead.
3. How did the plague affect city government and laws? The plague affected city government and laws tremendously because the city leaders were all sick, dead, or trapped in their houses, and without leaders the laws were not enforced, and essentially there was no government.
4. What aspect of people’s behavior seems to shock Boccaccio most? Boccaccio seems to be most shocked at the fact that parents were abandoning their children if they became infected.
5. What ways of living did people adopt in the face of the plague? Did any of them work better than others? Which, if any, of these alternatives would you choose?
People lived in small communities, away from the sick. Some communities drank fine wine and only the best food in moderation, while others drank excessively and ate whenever they desired. I think living in a small community and eating and drinking rationally would work best, because it is most like regular life and would allow food quantities to last longer, so I would choose this alternative.
6. Consider what the shock of such a plague and the loss of so many people would do to European culture. Relate the plague to other events taking place in Europe in the 1400s.
The severe loss of people would delay the evolution of European culture by a few decades; during the 14th and early 15th century the Great Papal Schism was happening, which also would have a similar effect on Christianity, delaying it’s evolution.
2. The Prince
1. How does Niccolò Machiavelli distinguish his study of the art of ruling from that of earlier writers?
Niccolò distinguishes his study of the art of ruling because his objective is to write about how to rule, not an imaginary, utopian style of ruling which many others have written about, but a way to rule that will preserve the power of the leader.
2. Machiavelli observes that anyone who attempts to be entirely good among people who are not good “must inevitably come to ruin.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain I agree with this because bad people will rebel and create chaos and eventually overthrowing the ruler. The ruler must be harsh on his subjects, although must still respect them. A ruler should have a relationship like a parent and a child where the ruler needs to pressure his people to stay loyal to him and respect him.
3. Machiavelli says that “men are less concerned about giving offense to one who goes about making himself loved than to one who makes himself feared…Fear binds by a threat of punishment which never relaxes.” Is this good advice for someone in authority? Why or why not?
I believe that this is not good advice because if a ruler goes about making himself loved and is loved by his subjects, then why should the subjects hate or disrespect their ruler. On the other hand, if a ruler makes himself feared then his people have more of a reason to dislike the ruler because of how strict or harsh he may be, which inturn gives the subjects more of a reason to overthrow their hated ruler.
4. What opinions does Machiavelli have of the ruled, that is, human beings in general?
Machiavelli thinks that humans are selfish and only think for themselves. Also ...
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