Thesis: The Elizabethan Era is one of the most influential eras in European history; this was a result of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the creation of capitalism, and the increase of literature.
Queen Elizabeth I
Quote: "During Elizabeth’s reign, she achieved a religious settlement that established a moderately Protestant Church of England as the country’s national church. She also long avoided war with Europe's leading Roman Catholic nations" (Bumgardner 1).
Commentary: Queen Elizabeth I established England as Protestant while also avoiding war with Catholic nations.Elizabeth had a huge effect on the Elizabethan era and society at that time (as is expected by the name). Especially, with the way she handled religion in her government.
Quote: "Not everyone prospered during the Elizabethan Age. Strict rules regulated clothing, land ownership, marriage, and religion. In the latter half of Elizabeth’s reign, she actively persecuted Catholics. Some radical forms of Protestantism also were not tolerated. A number of people were executed for activity opposing the established church. By law, such action could be regarded as treason"(Bumgardner 1).
Commentary: People in the Elizabethan age had to live under many rules which controlled several aspects of their life. Also, Queen Mary actively persecuted those who didn't share the same religious views.In the Elizabethan Era the religious views of individuals was controlled by Elizabeth.
Quote: "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. The English also enjoyed dressing up for masques, pageants, and plays at Christmas and other special times. Elizabeth’s court became a center for musicians, scholars, and writers"(Bumgardner 1).
Commentary: People in the Elizabethan Age had many ways to entertain themselves, all of which the Queen helped promote. The activities in the Elizabethan Age had a huge effect on the way people in today's society enjoy to spend their time(movies,games, television, ect.)
Quote: "By 1594, he was a charter member of the theatrical company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which was later to become the King's Men.(As the names of these acting companies indicate, theatrical groups depended on the support of a wealthy patron--the King's Men were supported by King James himself.)"(Anderson 2).
Commentary: Elizabeth's successor, King James, was already an influential man who ran many sources of profit. This had a big impact on the way money could be made.
Renewed Interest in Intellect
Quote: "Shakespeare's plays are still produced all over the world. During a Broadway season in the 1980's, one critic estimated that if Shakespeare were alive today, he would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for a production of Othello alone"(Anderson 2).
Commentary: Shakespeare's immense popularity is shown when a critic stated that if he were alive he would have been payed around $25,000 a week.Shakespeare's plays broke new boundaries with his innovation proving that the Elizabethan era was like nothing seen before.In this era, society was moving toward a more conscious state of mind.
Quote: "Movies are basically a visual medium and so must chiefly engage and delight the eye rather than the ear. (One movie director once referred to a dialogue in a movie as "foreground noise"!) The theater is much more a medium of words rather than the movement of the scenery that delights us"(Anderson 3).
Commentary: Plays are still a relevant art that is like no other. People in this day and age still go watch plays to receive an experience like no other.Plays are one of the greatest inventions of the past. Its one that has left a huge impact on the world and also led to many other industries.
Quote: "The 16th century represents the first phase of the Renaissance, the historical period immediately following the Middle Ages marked by the stirring of a new spirit of artistic and intellectual inquiry and the restoration of the spirit of ancient Greece and Rome. Printing, introduced in the mid-15th century, became widespread throughout Europe and opened a floodgate of books and other printed materials that official censors could neither shut nor control"(Kurian 1).
Commentary: Society in this time period had a renewed craving for intellect, which was fueled greatly by printing. Printing allowed for the spread of knowledge across Europe.This step forward impacts society in a big way because it was the first time in history that individuals were starting to be given the chance to become educated.
Quote: "In England, poetic drama dominated the age, especially the works of Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster, and, above all, William Shakespeare, whose works spanned the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In Portugal, the poet Luis Camões occupies the same place as Shakespeare does in England, as do Lope de Vega in imperial Spain and Gil Vicente in Spain and Portugal. The century also produced Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain's greatest novelist"(Kurian 1).
Commentary: Poetic drama, such as Shakespeare's work, dominated in this time period. The Elizabethan era brought Europe some of the best, most influential writers in history. A newfound interest in knowledge helped make this revolution a possibility.
Quote: "Most ships were built for the purpose of trade and cloth was the main English export throughout the period. In the first half of the 16th century the English maritime economy was dominated by the trade between London and Antwerp. Economic and political crises led to the decline and eventual collapse of the Antwerp market in the 1550's and 1560's. This prompted merchants in London and other ports to start looking further afield.From the 1550's onwards a succession of voyages to the more distant parts of Europe, as well as growing numbers of transoceanic enterprises, sought to open new markets and gain access to exotic, high-value goods.London merchants were the principal financiers of this expansion and the capitals elite was probably the main beneficiary"(Freil 1).
Commentary: The trading between London and Antwerp controlled the English maritime economy.But when the Antwerp market collapsed, merchants in England started to look for alternatives. As merchants achieved more successful voyages to other parts of Europe, the number of transoceanic enterprises also increased. Additionally, as a result of this, new markets dealing with more exotic goods opened. When the Antwerp market collapsed, it forced the merchants of England to expand in search of opening new markets with which to profit from.This increased the number of transoceanic enterprises. This expansion led to what has come to be known as the rich getting richer.
Quote: "Joint-Stock companies were set up to exploit trading possibilities, the must famous of which was the Last India Company, created in 1599 with the aim of breaking into the valuable spice trade of the Far East. But though the volume of trade increased, the overall pattern was slow to change. In I600 the majority of English ships still sailed on coastal or short-range routes to France, the Low Countries and Germany"(Friel 1).
Commentary: Joint-Stock companies, including the East India Company, were established to profit from recent trading expansions. The spice trade in the Far East was highly sought after. But, most merchant ships still only sailed on routes to France, the Low Countries and Germany. Joint-Stock companies such as the East India Company were established marking what many consider the beginning of capitalism. This increase in commerce and trade would also see the establishing of the first stock exchanges.
Quote: "In 1576, outside the city walls of London, an actor-manager named James Burbage built the first permanent theater in England. He called it the Theatre. Up to that time, touring acting companies had played wherever they could rent space"(Anderson 1).
Commentary: James Burbage managed to build a first of its kind permanent theatre in England. This new idea replaced the old practice of temporary platform stages.Literature was becoming a more important element in the Elizabethan era as is evident by the theaters that were being built to glorify playwright's work. This shows a renewed interest in literature by the people in this periods society.
Anderson, Robert. "Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match." Holt
Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading,
Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt,
Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.
---. "William Shakespeare's Life: A Genius from Stratford." Holt Literature &
Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing,
Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart &
Winston, 2003, pp. 776-77.
Bumgardner, Jake. "Elizabethan Age." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web.
30 Nov. 2016.
Friel, Ian. "Guns, Gales And God Elizabeth I's 'Merchant Navy.'" History Today