Life in the Elizabethan era was very different in population, society, clothing and fashion.
What was life like in the Elizabethan Era?
Shakespeare's London had grown from 120,000 inhabitants in 1550 to 200,000 by 1600. By 1650, London contained 375,000 people. This exceptional population growth is remarkable considering London’s high mortality rate. The crowded and unsanitary city often experienced outbreaks of plague that regularly reduced the population (Lander).
London during shakespears time grew from 120,000 people in 1550 and had 200,000 people by 1650. London was very crowed and unsanitary. There would be random outbreaks of the plague which reduced the population
The crowded streets helped give London an air of bustling activity. But other factors also made London an exciting city (Lander).
All the people in London helped make the city more fun and busy feeling. Other things made it exciting.
The period featured a marked growth in cities, not only in size but also in importance (Lance).
Cities got more people and became more important during Shakespeare's time.
Clothes and Fashion:
Elizabethan clothes, for most people except the poor were very elaborate (Elgin, 16).
People living in the Elizabethan Era wore very complex outfits. The poor did not get this luxury.
Women's dresses, made of silk or velvet and covered with rich embroidery, went down to to their ankles and had a frame underneath to make the skirts stand out. Men wore a short embroidered doublet, tights, and fancy shoes with high heels (Elgin).
Women wore dresses made of silk or velvet. They had embroidery on them and had frames underneath to make the skirt stand out. Men wore doublets, tights and shoes with heels.
Elaborate hairstyles and powdered wigs decorated with ribbons and jewels made up for the fact that people barely washed their hair (Elgin).
People did fancy things with their hair to hide it because they barely washed it.
Although their clothes were fine, even rich people hardly took baths, and the perfumes must have covered up the powerful smells. They also carried around little boxes of aromatic powder. They believed that sniffing this would protect them from the plague (Elgin).
People from this time rarely ever took baths. They used perfume to cover the strong smell and carried around aromatic powder to sniff because they believed it would keep the plague away.
Society in the Elizabethan Era
Instrumental music, singing, and dancing are important in Elizabethan drama. Some of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies might almost be called “musical comedies.” Twelfth Night, for example, includes instrumental serenades and rousing drinking songs as well as other songs ranging from sad to comic (Lander).
Elizabethan drama used a lot of musical elements such as singing and dancing. Some of Shakespeare's works include fun drinking songs, sad songs, and comic songs
Under Elizabeth I, they enjoyed a long period of relative peace while continental Europe was burdened by war (Lander).
When Queen Elizabeth I was ruler, London was very peaceful while Europe was at war.
The nobles held great power and frequently lived colorful and extravagant lives, but they made up only about 3 percent of the population. Although the vast majority of the Elizabethan population was quite poor, few firsthand historical records of their daily lives have survived. Members of the lower classes in England were mainly uneducated, so they did not usually keep journals or written records describing their own lives (Lander).
The rich lived amazing lives with many luxuries. There were not a lot of them. The majority of the Elizabethan population was poor and most were uneducated so there are not documents on their lives.
Beers, G. Kylene, et al. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003.
Daily Life in the Elizabethan Era.“ Elizabethan World Reference Library, edited by Sonia G. Benson and Jennifer York Stock, vol. 1: Almanac, UXL, 2007, pp. 181-194.
Elgin, Kathy. Daily Life. Minneapolis, Compass Point Books, 2005.
Lace, William W. Elizabethan England. Farmington Hills, Lucent Books, 2006.
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.