Elizabethan era: Art and literature Mikayla Sagginario Period 4

Queen Elizabeth and her Court

The Elizabethan Era ranged from 1558 till 1603, with the strong Queen Elizabeth I to rule the people and gain their loyalty and admiration. Jake Bumgardner states, "Elizabethan Age, or Elizabethan Era, was a period of English history during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, from 1558 to 1603. 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 p.unknown). The Elizabethan Era can be argued as one of the strongest eras. Queen Elizabeth was a very strong ruler and was able to gain the loyalty and admiration of her subjects. This next quote explains that the Elizabethan Era was very creative and prospered culturally. Scott Fetzer tells, "The Elizabethan Age was important culturally. Popular pleasures included archery, bowls, dancing, and bear-baiting. People liked music, and wealthy people were expected to play musical instruments on social occasions. People also enjoyed dressing up. They acted masques, pageants, and plays at Christmas and other special times," (Fetzer p.unknown). The Elizabethan Era was a time for creative minds to explore new things. With all their ideas, people of this time prospered in painting, literature, theater, dance, and music. Many of the stories and art made then are still very well known today. To show, "Shakespeare's plays are still produced all over the world. During a Broadway season in the 1980s, one critic estimated that if Shakespeare were alive, he would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for a production of Othello alone. The play was attracting larger audiences than any other nonmusical production in town," (Anderson p.777). This quote tells that even in this day and age, Shakespeare's works are still enjoyed by tons of people. This also tells that with just one play, Shakespeare could make the amount of money that an average person makes in a month. The last of Elizabeth's reign was disastrous and did not end well. This is explained by, "The combination of an ageing and indecisive queen, who was losing her grip on power, coupled with the clashing personalities at her court resulted in political stagnation," (Dickinson p.10). Elizabeth's reign sadly did not end well, she grew old and indecisive. This as well as the fact that her court did not get along, caused Elizabeth to lose her grip on power. To conclude, the Queen as well as the arts were very valued in the Elizabethan Era.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth

Elizabeth became queen in the year 1558, it is said that she was a very meticulous and strong ruler. For example, "Elizabeth was a strong but cautious ruler who pitted her enemies against one another. One of her first acts was to reestablish the Church of England. Initially, she tried to win Catholic support by making the church services more traditional. But after 1580, she began to persecute remaining Catholics as harshly as her sister had persecuted Protestants," (Fetzer p.unknown). Queen Elizabeth was very strong in the beginning of her ruling, though her ideas of what she thought was good became very demented. Queen Elizabeth may have become stressed with the responsibilities that came with power. The queen was glorified in many ways, but mostly through art. To show, "All English artists were expected to fulfill their patriotic duty by glorifying the queen. Since it was impossible in the Elizabethan age to support oneself through art, most artists depended on patrons..." (Benson p.142). Artists intentions were not to express their feelings with their art, but show the queen in all her glory. This may have put restrictions on artist and they ways that they could show their creativeness. All in all, Queen Elizabeth may have made some mistakes as a ruler, though she was greatly admired by most people she ruled.

William Shakespeare

Elizabethan Artists created their own style along with inspiration of European Renaissance ideals. For instance, "Elizabethan artists drew from European Renaissance ideals, but they also brought a unique national sensibility to their work. Among the many influences on their style was Elizabeth herself. Her image was often invoked in painting and literature, and her appreciation of music, dancing, and pageantry raised them to a higher level of artist," (Benson p.142). Queen Elizabeth played an important influence in painting as well as literature.It is amazing how much of a difference the Queen's appreciation was able to make to art. Artists found an abstract way to tell stories with their art. Sonia Benson states this, "Artists and writers often found indirect ways to represent contemporary problems. Most used the ancient art of allegory, a story or painting that represents abstract ideas or principles as characters, figures, or events," (Benson p.143). This shows that it was looked down upon to paint about stories or events rather than the queen. Thus leading to the use of abstract art to tell of stories or events. The Elizabethan Era was the beginning of great literature. To provide evidence, "English literature flowered during Elizabeth's reign with the works of such great writers as Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, and—above all—William Shakespeare," (Fetzer p.unknown). The Elizabethan Era showed the importance of literature and helped it blossom into what it is now. Many of the greatest writers in history lived and created their works during this era. Literature had paved a new road into drama. Scott Fetzer explains this when he states, "In 1576, James Burbage built England's first playhouse, called The Theatre, in a suburb of London. Until this time, drama had been performed in the streets, in homes and palaces, and at universities. After Burbage's theatre, other playhouses opened and the popularity of drama rapidly increased," (Fetzer p.unknown). The building of James Burbage's theater had sparked a new interest in drama. Drama would go on to become popular even in today's time. In conclusion, the world of arts has grown greatly over time, but what truly gave way to it all was the Elizabethan Era.

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