FC: Shakespeare: In the Times of Elizabeth By Ben Adler
2: Life under ELizabeth focussed mainly on the people. Large festivals and fairs were held frequently and all were allowed to attend. These fairs were very similar to modern day carnivals; food was eaten, games were played, and people gathered to celebrate. Food was a large part of life and the wealthier class ate meat more frequently than the lower class. Plays and literature were also a large part of life. Many people attended theatre to watch comedies, dramas, thrillers, and other plays. The calendar of events in England also revolved around church life and religion. The Church was the highest power in scheduling and most holidays and major events coincided with events in the Protestant calendar.
3: Society | Society during the time of Elizabeth differed heavily based on your social class. Social classes were typically determined by wealth and occupation. In the upper class, it was usual to show off your wealth by buying paintings and statues of yourself. The upper class was also accustomed to arranged marriages. The upper class often had large feasts where large amounts of expensive food were made and served by servants. The lower class however did not enjoy these luxuries. They lived more moderate lives and were usually farmers, craftsmen, or small merchants. The lower class however experienced the right to choose who they dated and married.
4: Geography | The northern half of England is made up of mostly low lying limestone hills. This range of hills is known s the Pennines. With its highest point reaching only 2930 feet, this mountain range is relatively low and does not hinder the ability to farm. This land area is commonly referred to as the country side for its low rolling hills and green landscape. This area experiences a moderate climate with average temperatures in the winter around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. | The North
5: The South | The southern half of England is much flatter than the north. There are no mountain ranges and most of the land is flat plains. Due to the flatter land, the south is inhabited more densely than the northern area. The climate is similar to the north in that temperatures rarely go below freezing or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.Along with | the north, the southern portion of England is surrounded by bodies of water. To the east is the North Sea, The English Channel lies south, and the Celtic and Irish Sea are due west.
6: Religion | An unofficial religion during the time of Elizabeth and Shakespeare was a belief in witchcraft. During this time period, hundreds of people were killed because they were believed to be witches. WItches were most commonly believed to be old, poor, unprotected, single, and women. The belief of witches coincides greatly with the powerful superstitious thoughts and acts of people living under Elizabeth. Many superstitions today, such as bad luck being brought by a black cat crossing your lawn, have origins in England from a round this time period. Many superstitions such as this have connecting to spirits that are possessed in animals and nature.
7: The official religion of England under the rule of Queen Elizabeth was Protestant. Elizabeth was very religious and made it a law that all must attend church services. Unlike her older sister, Mary, Elizabeth did not persecute those who believed in other religions. Catholicism was not looked down upon and Elizabeth accepted it as long as it did not pose a threat to her rule over England. However, there was extreme tension between the two religions. Catholics made many plans to try to replace Elizabeth with her cousin Mary, who was catholic. Many people died fighting over what religion was to be the official religion of England.
8: Achievements | During the time of Elizabeth, great discoveries were made in the field of science. Astronomer and physicists were given freedom and were encouraged to explore their fields of study. Great advancements ere made in the study of magnetism. Astronomer began to understand the universe much more clearly. This set the stage for cross Atlantic travel. Elizabeth paid great money to ship captains to voyage across the Atlantic and claim land in the Americas. In was during this time that British travelers completed a trip around the world.
9: During the time of Elizabeth, writers and artists were encouraged to pursue their careers and create original works of art. It was during this time period that Shakespeare was able to write many of his first plays. The wealthy were able to purchase paintings | and attend plays frequently to show their wealth. Many of Shakespeare’s most famous works such as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet”, and “Merchant of Venice” were written during this time period.
10: Politics | In the Elizabethan period, the queen had total power and control over England. Queen Elizabeth was a strong ruler who kept relations with other countries friendly. Queen Elizabeth was notorious for creating odd laws that had severe punishments. As well as odd laws, punishments during the time period were much harsher compared to modern day. One punishment was to use a stretch board where somebody’s body was literally pulled apart. Torture was believed to be a more effective punishment than death.
11: Although Queen Elizabeth enforces such harsh punishments, she is known as being a very strong and respectful ruler. She had extreme respect for her subjects and treated them fairly. All 0f her actions were to help promote the general well-being of her people. One of her most famous acts became known as the poor laws. This law helped provide food and supplies for those who could not afford for themselves and their family. However, Elizabeth was also known to be somewhat careless with the country’s money. She was also criticized for her rule towards the end of her control.
12: Economy | The economy of England prospered under the rule of Elizabeth. Due to improved boat making and navigational skills, sea travel was made much easier. This allowed for countries to trade more frequently and efficiently. Foreign trade flourished and grew immensely. Large markets could be seen all over England. Being surrounded by water also created large ports on the coast for trade and travel. Two cities, Antwerp and London, were the centers of trade during Elizabethan times. At its height, London was home to 200,000 people. During this time, the merchant class grew tremendously and many jobs were created.
13: During the Elizabethan time period, the main source of revenue in England was farming. The flat country side allowed for crops to be grown successfully and quickly.The large amount of land also made it possible for cattle to be kept. The large number of farms made food readily available throughout England and attracted other countries to trade. A main product of England at the time was wool cloth. Paintings and statues also sold well among the middle and upper class as they demonstrated wealth. Other industries such as iron making, architecture, and other fine arts also flourished under the rule of Elizabeth.
14: Shakespeare: Early Life | Shakespeare grew up the same way that any other young boy living in England would have at the time. His Father was a glover and later on a government official and his mother took care of his family. He had 7 siblings; 4 sisters and 3 brothers. He grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon and went to a small “petty” school from ages 5-7 and then a formal grammar school from years 7-14 where he learned English and Latin. Shakespeare received no college education.
15: Shakespeare: Family Life | At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, a 25/26 year old woman. This was unusual because she was older than he was. Also, little paper work of the marriage is present and she was said to be pregnant prior to the marriage. William and Anne had 3 children; Susanna. Hamnet, and Judith. Unfortunately, Hamnet died at age 11 of bubonic plague. It is known that Shakespeare left his family in Stratford-upon-Avon in order to pursue his career in London.
16: Shakespeare: Early Career | It is unknown exactly what year Shakespeare left his family to pursue his career in London. In fact, little is known about the late teens and early 20’s of his life. These years are known as the “Lost Years”. It is assumed that by the end of 1952, Shakespeare had become a part of a local London theatre company. It was in 1594 however that William joined a group of actors known as The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It was with these actors that he expanded and grew to fame.
17: Shakespeare: The Globe Theatre | The Lord Chamberlain’s Men were doing relatively well and in 1599 they created what will be remembered as one of the most famous theaters in history; The Globe Theatre. Originally located in London, the Globe was forced to move over a lease dispute. For the next and last 10 years of his life, William Shakespeare would become the most famous play writer of all time, all in the Globe Theatre. It was here that plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Two Noble Kinsmen took to the stage and changed theatre forever.
18: Famous Quotes | "Cowards die many times before their deaths, The valiant never taste of death but once." “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” “What a piece of work is a man” “The course of true love never did run smooth” "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." "O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!"
19: Shakespearean Language | Coz - Cousin Hark You - Shame on you Thrice - Three Art - Are Knave - Wild Man/Servant/Liar tis - It’s o’er - Over e’ev - Every ne’er - Never a’ - At/Have I’ - I’ve