The Elizabethan Era By, Charlene Miciano Period 5

Top Photos: Elizabethan Architecture/ Theatres Bottom Left: Example of what Queen Elizabeth I would have worn Bottom Right: Statue of Queen Elizabeth
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth

Thesis: The modern world is greatly influenced by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabethan society, and Renaissance theatre.

Queen Elizabeth I Reign:

Quote #1: "Popular pleasures during the Elizabethan Age included archery, bowls (similar to bowling), and dancing. People liked music, and wealthy people were expected to play musical instruments on social occasions... Elizabeth’s court became a center for musicians, scholars, and writers" (Bumgardner).

Commentary: During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I was a big supporter of the arts to the point where her royal court consisted of artists and people of the arts. Queen Elizabeth's era was a time of prosperity and revival of the arts. People became submerged in the arts which included singing, dancing, music, theatre, and other performing arts. With Queen Elizabeth's encouragement, the arts flourished throughout Europe.

Quote #2: "Elizabeth was a strong ruler who gained the loyalty and admiration of her subjects. The Elizabethan Age is sometimes called the Golden Age, because it was a time of great achievement in England" (Bumgardner).

Commentary: Queen Elizabeth I did many great things during her reign. Some achievements included making the Protestant Church of England the national church of England, avoiding a war with Catholic European nations, defeated the Spanish Armada, which in turn made the economy prosper even more. All of these things made the people of England adore her and respect her as a queen. Therefore, when she encouraged the arts and theatre people listened and gave her beliefs a chance.

Quote #3: "For the rest of her life, Elizabeth held an unshakable faith that it was by God's design that she was queen of England. Though only twenty-five years old and wholly unskilled in the art of governing a country, she was remarkably confident and ready to assume her role as England's supreme leader" (Elizabeth).

Commentary: Queen Elizabeth I believed that God hand picked her to rule England. Because of this, she vowed to improve the conditions that England was in after the death of Queen Mary. Without her devotion to her country, the arts would not have flourished in Europe and to the rest of the country. The arts would not be what they are today.

Quote #4: "Parliament (the English legislative body) happened to be in session on the day of Mary's death, and it lost no time in proclaiming Elizabeth the new queen of England" (Elizabeth).

Commentary: After Queen Mary's death, Parliament already knew who to replace her with and take the thrown. They had a lot of trust in Elizabeth. With Parliament's support, Queen Elizabeth was able to enforce her new regulations with ease.

Elizabethan Society:

Quote #1: "Renaissance Europe was not a single, unified society with the same traditions throughout the land. Each region had distinct languages, ethnic makeups, and geographic factors that shaped everyday life" (Daily).

Commentary: Europe was a very ethnically diverse region during Elizabethan times. People who spoke different languages and were culturally diverse lived in the same areas. This affected everyday life and how people interacted with one another. People lived different lives which greatly influence and contribute to how we live our lives today.

Quote #2: "Europeans were often on the move, going to market, traveling to political centers to pay taxes, or embarking on religious pilgrimages" (Daily).

Commentary: The population in Europe was spread very thin over the rural areas. People all over Europe had to travel to busy places in order to conduct business, trade, pay taxes, or attend mass. At these busy centers, peasants could interact with noblemen and other members of the upperclass. This is where ideas and new concepts diffused throughout Europe. People discussed new things and then bring it back to their homeland. This began the spread of new culture, beliefs, and theories throughout Europe, and eventually to the rest of the world.

Quote #3: "The term "humanism" is inextricably linked to the era known as the Renaissance, a period beginning in about 1400 and lasting for two hundred years as an artistic movement, but in another sense lasting up to the present day" (Renaissance).

Commentary: Humanism defines as the interest in human life on Earth, rather than a divine power. Many people believed in humanism during the Elizabethan Era. People began thinking more towards theology, law, and medicine, instead of religion and faith. These beliefs diffused throughout Europe. Scientists were able to develop and make great advances in the Science and math world. Today, we still use their old theories and laws and work upon them to make new ones.

Quote #4: "Many modern notions of what constitutes an education date from the humanists and have changed surprisingly little in the six hundreds years since" (Renaissance).

Commentary: Since the Enlightenment was also taking place during the Elizabethan Era, scientists and other humanists were able to blossom and discover new things. Scholars and scientist nowadays still continue to use the theories developed during those times. Modern education still resembles Renaissance education, despite it being 600 years ago.

Elizabethan/Renaissance Theatre:

Quote #1: "By the late 1500’s, Elizabethan plays were being performed in two kinds of theater buildings—later called public and private theaters" (Lander).

Commentary: The public theaters were held outside and were often much larger than private ones. The private theaters often charged more money to watch the plays which resulted in a higher-class audience. This is similar to modern theatre not only in London, but all over the world, because in the modern world, the better the seats are, the more expensive they cost. Therefore, only those who can afford the seats will be able to sit there.

Quote #2: "The stage of a public theater was a large platform that projected into the pit. This arrangement allowed the audience to watch from the front and sides. The performers, nearly surrounded by spectators, thus had close contact with most of their audience" (Lander).

Commentary: The plays during Elizabethan times were very alive and a spectator would feel as if they were in the play itself. This is because of the closeness of the audience and the actors. Actors in live theatre today attempt to have as much emotion as the actors during the Elizabethan Era in order to make the show more entertaining and real. Performers learn from the actors during this time and see how they can portray the roles as well as it was performed during these times. This is also similar because the performers are surrounded by the crowd on all sides of the stage, so that the audience can get as close as possible.

Quote #3: "The theaters of London were an attraction, and visitors to the city were often part of the audience" (Lander).

Commentary: Theatre, especially Shakespeare's plays, appealed to a wide range of audiences. From merchants and craftspeople, to nobles and the royal court, theatre was a popular form of entertainment during the Elizabethan Era. In the modern world, as long as they can afford to watch, people all over the surrounding area comes to watch plays and the theatre. Depending on how popular the play is, people will visit from out of state or even out of the country just to watch the show.

Quote #4: "The writing and staging of Elizabethan plays were strongly influenced by various dramatic conventions of that time—customs that the audience accepted and did not take literally" (Lander).

Commentary: The writers of the plays used what was going on with what was happening in London at that time to write the plays. This is similar to modern day play writing and other forms of artistic writing because the playwrights and other authors today use the events taking place in the world to inspire them in their writing. Writers go out and experience the real world to find some inspiration just like the Elizabethan writers used the dramatic conventions of that time.

Works Cited

Bumgardner, Jake. “Elizabethan Age.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.

“Daily Life.” Renaissance and Reformation Reference Library, edited by Julie L. Carnagie, et al., vol. 2: Vol. 2: Almanac, UXL, 2002, pp. 569-622. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 6 Dec. 2016.

“Elizabeth Takes the Throne.” Elizabethan World Reference Library, edited by Sonia G. Benson and Jennifer York Stock, vol. 1: Almanac, UXL, 2007, pp. 31-50. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 7 Dec. 2016.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

“Renaissance Humanism.” Humanism (2009): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

“William Shakespeare.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2016): 1-4. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.


Created with images by Provenance Online Project - "Engraving of Queen Elizabeth I, with chronogram recording the year of her death (1603)" • Rev Stan - "Queen Elizabeth I statue" • Provenance Online Project - "Engraving of Queen Elizabeth I, with chronogram recording the year of her death (1603)" • lisby1 - "Elizabeth I, Queen of England" • lisby1 - "Elizabeth I, Queen of England" • Martin Pettitt - "Stowe Park, Buckinghamshire" • Ben Sutherland - "Queen Elizabeth I window in Worcester Cathedral" • CircaSassy - "A short history of England (1921)" • Hans - "open air theatre theatrum theater" • kevinofsydney - "the globe theatre" • ell brown - "Royal Opera House - Bow Street, London - Elizabethan dress" • Rev Stan - "Queen Elizabeth I statue" • lisby1 - "Elizabeth I, Queen of England"

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