Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year consists of more than just an empirical account of the plague. Within the book is also a metaphysical theme of the plague, where Defoe touches on the ideas of order in time of “chaos”. Page 6-7 of the book has a section where Defoe talks about government to retain structure in society. Defoe also goes on to debase the exaggerated rumors of chaos and filth that filled the streets, and mentions that the rich found ways to survive more often than the poor, although the plague was not discriminating of social class.
During that time, existed a mental plague that people had to face, a peak of desperation was reached where people began throwing themselves in pits of dead bodies. In the song, is also an analysis of mental plagues that become products of a destructive society. A purpose for life is questioned, and living is no longer satisfactory. The song’s lyrics includes ideas of living in a broken down “city”, and then juxtaposes “feel[ing] good” but in a very sarcastic manner.
Exploring the relationship between Defoe’s Journal and the song, is very interesting, as it brings to mind the mental aspects of plague. It is no wonder people went insane as they saw everything they once knew die away; from their loved ones to the life of the city. Plague is not limited to the physicality of things, but also its existential presence.