Elizabethan Era By: Isabella Simpson

Thesis: The Elizabethan era religion, theater, and daily lives helped shape modern day religion, theater, and daily lives immensely, helping us improve on those things greatly.


Quote #1: "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" (Bumgardner).

Commentary: The Elizabethan Era, though it may have been a prosperous era to certain people, were not a good time to go through if you were a Catholic. Queen Elizabeth prosecuted many people simply because they were a different religion from what she believed in. Though the two religions are pretty similar, Queen Elizabeth did not accept it and mistreated the Catholics.

Quote #2: "In 1587, Elizabeth executed her cousin Mary Stuart, the former Catholic queen of Scotland. Mary had been the willing focus of several Catholic plots against Elizabeth"(Bumgardner).

Commentary: This proves that Elizabeth didn't care whether or not these people were related to her, if they didn't believe in the religion she wanted, they were to be persecuted. No matter who it was, they had to believe in what she wanted.


Quote #3: "At the beginning of the Elizabethan Era, the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) that is often considered to be a golden age in English history..."(Benson and Stock).

Commentary: During Elizabeth I's reign, the theatre had a peak in which it reached its most demanding popularity, this era, considered to be the golden age in English history, produced many great plays and playwrights, such as Shakespeare.

Quote #4: "By the 1550s plays were almost exclusively being performed by acting companies—small groups of four to ten adult men and possibly a boy or two. Women were not permitted to act on stage until long after the Elizabethan Era, so female parts were played by boys or men dressed as women. The acting companies traveled from town to town carrying their stage scenery and costumes in wagons."(Benson and Stock).

Commentary: Back during the Elizabethan Era, sexism was prominent. Women were not allowed to work, which is why young boys who had not hit puberty yet were forced to play the roles of women. These young men despised it, hating to be humiliated in front of other people, which is why they could not wait to hit puberty so that they could finally act as a man.

Quote #5: "Although most townspeople were eager to be entertained, the local authorities and religious leaders viewed the acting companies as a threat to the morals, health, and safety of their towns"(Benson and Stock).

Commentary: Religious leaders thought that acting was a threat to their own morals, health, and safety. They did not like the thought of acting troupes and tried to stop their followers from going to watch the men and boys perform.

Daily Life:

Quote #6: "In spite of their tolerance of cruelty, Elizabethans were extremely sensitive to beauty and grace. They loved many forms of literature, including poetic drama, narrative and lyric poetry, prose fiction, and essays. People of all classes enjoyed music, and English composers rivaled the finest composers in all Europe" (Lander).

Commentary: Despite all the death and violence that happened, the people of the Elizabethan Era really loved anything beautiful and graceful. This was during the time where acting troupes peaked, which would explain why people would always spend money to go and see people act.

Quote #7: "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"(Morrill).

Commentary: The Elizabethan Era was one of the most important cultural times that helped shape our society now. People started to get into more social things, such as dressing up for masques and balls, going to plays, and listening to music. This may have lead to shape the way our societal norms are today.

Quote #8: "Elizabethans were keenly aware of death and the brevity of life. They lived in constant fear of plague. When an epidemic struck, they saw victims carted off to common graves. Yet death and violence also fascinated many Elizabethans. Londoners flocked to public beheadings of traitors, whose heads were exhibited on poles" (Lander).

Commentary: The Elizabethan Era, also known as the Golden Age, was also a very dark time. The plague, also known as the Black Death, was a constant fear during those times, yet Elizabethans were fascinated with the concept of death, even going out of their way to watch people get hung.

Quote #9: "The reign of Elizabeth I was a prosperous period. Clothiers (clothmakers) had organized their expanding industry into the domestic system. By this system, they bought wool from farmers, distributed it to spinners and weavers who worked at home, and then sold or exported the finished cloth. The clothiers offered good prices for wool, and sheep farming became profitable" (Morrill).

Commentary: The Golden Age was a very profitable period in time. Such an example in what had become more profitable was clothes. People who made clothes had developed a system in which it would help them get the most profitable funds.

Quote #10: "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" (Benson and Stock).

Commentary: If it is thought in a certain way, the social class during the Elizabethan Era is similar to our social system today. The rich, privileged people live at the top, but these people were not common. The rest lived in poverty.

Quote #11: "Members of the lower classes in England were mainly uneducated, so they did not usually keep journals or written records describing their own lives. They could not afford to have their portraits painted nor to preserve their humble homes for future generations. Historians agree, though, that daily life for the majority of Elizabethans had little to do with courtly life, and much to do with working hard to earn a meager living" (Benson and Stock).

Commentary: This part of the Elizabethan Era is not at all similar to ours today. Most people believe today that we should spend all our money, instead of saving it up bit by bit. However, back then, people believed that unnecessary trinkets were not needed and that they should instead of studying and having fun, work hard so that they could earn barely enough to live.


Bumgardner, Jake. "Elizabethan Age." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

"Elizabethan Drama." Elizabethan World Reference Library, edited by Sonia G. Benson and Jennifer York Stock, vol. 1: Almanac, UXL, 2007, pp. 163-179. Gale Virtual Reference Library

Lander, Jesse M. "Shakespeare, William." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

Morrill, John S. "United Kingdom, History of the." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.

Ed. Sonia G. Benson and Jennifer York Stock. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2007. p181-194. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning

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