Essential Question-2. How did Elizabethan times influence writers and artists of that time?

  • What sort of monarch was Queen Elizabeth? What is she most famous for?
  • Find out what you can about Elizabethan views on young love and parental obedience.
  • Discover what you can about Elizabethan views on suicide.
  • What did people believe about the influence of the stars on people's lives during Elizabethan times?
  • Give an overview of Elizabethan poets.

Essential Question Answer-
Elizabethan times influenced poetry and poets, along with theater and actors. The English Renaissance and Elizabethan times brought with it a change in English literature, poetry, and acting. Poets began to compose sonnets. In addition to writing a great deal of love poems, poetry began to encompass a wide variety of topics, including: time, the effects of imprisonment, old age, advice to a child, and true happiness. Poets began writing about Elizabethan life and everyday occurrences. Poets such as Sir Philip Sidney wrote sonnets about the effects of imprisonment while he was in prison and exiled. Actors were legislated against by Elizabeth and her government, being considered unproductive (see the section "Queen Elizabeth's Reign"). However, in Elizabethan culture, arts and literature were important to the people, and so the theater went on, with some actors holding other jobs at the same time to avoid arrest. Music also became an important part or Elizabethan culture. Musicians in Elizabethan times created new styles of music such as the Anthem, the Madriga, the Masque, and the Opera. With the rule of Queen Elizabeth came a whole new set of ideas and practices, which would later be carried on by other poets as well. With all these changes, Elizabethan times had a profound impact on writers and artists of that time.

Queen Elizabeth's Reign
Queen Elizabeth at her coronation.

  • Her mother was executed on the charge of treason, adultery and incest. She lost her title of Princess Elizabeth and had to be referred to as Lady Elizabeth. This was because she was considered 'illegitimate', which could have prevented her from being the queen.
  • Facts about her power as a monarch:
    • She had the power to change anything about the people of her country.
    • She was allowed to select groups of men to help her govern.
    • She could make laws without the consent of parliament.
    • She was not above the law, and could be sentenced like any other person.
  • Elizabeth is considered by many to be one of England’s best monarchs because:
    • She was said to have made wise decisions and did not pay attention to bias or stubborn government officials.
    • She was not a tyrannical ruler, like many previous monarchs were.
    • She emphasized local government; however, only higher status people were in the local government.
    • These, combined with several other factors, allowed her to rule for 45 years (from age 25 to about age 70)
  • Despite being one of the best rulers of her time, she did pass laws hurting the theatrical communities and actors by labeling them as unproductive to the society.
Elizabethan views on young love and parental obedience

Weddings begin with a betrothal. This is where to people hold hands, and he puts a ring on her right hand, which he would ceremoniously switch to her left hand at a wedding. Then they kiss and sign a contract signifying that they are legally married.

Interesting Facts about Weddings:
  • It was good luck for a bachelor to wear basil in his collar to attract a woman to be his bride.
  • It was from this time that we get our modern superstitions surrounding marriages. For example, it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride, especially in her dress, 36 hours before a wedding.
  • The bride would put on her right shoe first for good luck when getting ready.
  • A bride and groom tried to refrain from getting married on Friday the 13th.

It was considered foolish to marry for love. Typically, marriage was for family benefits and money, not for love. In many cases, marriage was arranged for you by your parents so that their family could have successors.

Interesting facts about young love in Elizabethan times:
  • Most people in the arranged marriages have met each other, and sometimes have grown up together. If not, the couples had not met until their wedding day.
  • The point of marriage was not only for money, it was also so that the family name could live on.
  • Poor neighbors, tenants, and passers by stand at the back of the room during a wedding.
  • Young love was not seen the way it is today. People nowadays tend to frown upon it. In Elizabethan times, however, young marriages and betrothals were some of the smartest things you could do. Why? People thought this way because you would have more time to be with that person and have more children. You also morally owed your parents for taking care of you, so getting married could help the family business.

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This is a picture of Romeo and Juliet from the DVD.

  • Parents were not easily disobeyed as a child. Growing up it was critical to listen to your parents. They chose who you would marry, not you.
  • If you disobeyed your parents, it became a sin in religious beliefs, and also created family issues.
  • If your parents wanted you to do so, you could be married as a boy at 14, as a girl at 12, and without parental consent at the young age of 21.
  • Another reason that marriage was so important is that if you were single, people grew suspicious and thought of you as a witch. (This could lead to execution).
  • Men and women were expected to marry each other to carry on the family name, and to benefit each of the families in business and trade as well.

Elizabethan views on Suicide

  • Suicide was looked down upon. It was considered a deed of Satan to take your own life. if you committed suicide, you would be denied a christian burial. you would be buried at a crossroads with a stake in your heart to prevent your ghost from haunting the living.
  • A posthumous trial was held. If the person was considered "sane" at the time of their suicide, all of the money and possessions would go to the king. If the person was insane the family would get to keep the money.
  • They viewed these people as perpetrators, not victims.
  • It was called felonia de seipso or in it's shorter version felo de se meaning a vile crime against one's self.
  • It was known as the mother of all sins, and the most "un-forgivable."
  • It was said that if someone committed suicide they would go to hell " no questions asked."
  • Although it was such a terrible crime, some plays depicted it as a heroic form of sacrifice.
  • One of Britons main ancestors, Rome, believed it was a very noble death. The British, after adopting the Christian religion, decided not to follow in Rome's footsteps and make it a "bad death."
Influence of the stars on people's lives during Elizabethan times
Stars during Elizabethan times were crucial. Stars influenced Elizabethan life in the fields of exploration, theater, sports, and music.
  • Exploration
    • Elizabethan Times were definitely times for exploration. It included explorers who found the Americas who are still famous today, such as:
    • Ferdinand Magellan - First voyage around the world
    • Marco Polo - Exploration of China and Asia
    • Christopher Columbus - Explored the new world
    • Amerigo Vespucci - America was named after this explorer
    • Hernando Cortes - Conquered Mexico and Aztec Empire
    • John Cabot - Explored the coastline of Canada
    • Sir Francis Drake - Circumnavigates the world
    • Walter Raleigh (Who named Virginia for Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen) - Discovery of Guiana establishing Virginia colony
    • Juan Ponce de Leon - First European explorer to set foot on Florida
  • Theater
    • Theater played a large part in Elizabethan culture. New plays were available everyday and the theater it self made great advances. Theater Troupes and companies preformed everywhere from inn-yards to amphitheaters to playhouses. The theater business was booming and the audiences loved it. William Shakespeare is still famous today for his famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet.
    • Elizabethan Theaters
      • Inn-Yards - Elizabethan Inn-Yards were the start of the Elizabethan theater. Inns were always a popular place for people in the towns but Inns provided a place for the traveling acting troupes to rest. The courtyards of the ins were were the plays would be held (thus the name Inn-Yards). In owners even encouraged the plays it was free advertisement and very profitable.
    The White Hart Inn Yard
    The White Hart Inn Yard
      • Elizabethan Amphitheater - James Burbage built the first Elizabethan amphitheater in 1576. The Amphitheater was built to hold more people than the Inn-Yard in fact the amphitheater held 2500 more people than an inn-yard.
      • Elizabethan Playhouses-were built for the comfort. As apposed to the large out doors amphitheaters that resembled those of ancient Greece. Playhouses were small, private, in an indoor hall, and much more intimate setting. The most a playhouse could hold was about 500 people. Even though playhouses were more expensive than the other theater venues, playhouses provided luxuries and comforts that attracted a higher class crowd. Playhouses were indoors allowing theater troupes to preform throughout the winter.
    Elizabethan Playhouse
    Elizabethan Playhouse
  • Sports
    • Elizabethans had many sports such as hunting, wrestling, gameball, pall mall,skittles, stoolball, fencing, archery, ect... From those sports rose sports stars such as Sir Francis Drake, who was famous for playing the game of Bowls before he fought in the Spanish Armada.
    • Sports were a form of entertainment especially for those of high class.
  • Music
    • Musicians in the Elizabethan times created new styles of music such as the Anthem, the Madriga, the Masque, and the Opera.The creative composers of this time include
      • William Byrd (1543-1623)
      • Thomas Champion (1567-1620)
      • John Dowland (1563-1626)
      • John farmer (1570-1602)
      • Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
      • Robert Johnson (1500-1560)
      • Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)
    • The most Famous song from the Elizabethan age is Greensleeves a song supposedly written by king Henry the 8th for his second wife Anne Boleyn the mother of Queen Elizabeth the first. It was never proven for sure that King Henry wrote Greensleeves.
    Alas my love, ye do me wrong
  • to cast me off discurteously:
    And I have loved you so long,
    Delighting in your companie.
    Greensleeves was all my joy
    Greensleeves was my delight:
    Greensleees was my heart of gold,

  • And who but my Ladie Greensleeves.
    I have been readie at your hand,
    to grant what ever you would crave
    I have both waged life and land,
    your love and good will for to have.
    Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
    But still thou hadst it readily,
    Thy musicke still to play and sing,
    And yet thou wuldst not love me.
    Greensleeves now farewel adieu
    God I pray to prosper thee,
    For I am still thy lover true
  • Come once again and love me.

Overview of Elizabethan Poets
  • The Elizabethan poets were first seen in England during a time period corespondent to the rule of Queen Elizabeth. The English Renaissance of the sixteenth century brought with it a change in English literature, poetry, and acting. Poets began writing in sonnet style, and in addition to writing a great amount of love poems, they began to write about other subjects, such as time, the effects of imprisonment, old age, true happiness, advice to a child, views on "the happy life," and the kingdom of the mind. Some popular Elizabethan poets were Sir Philip Sidney, Henry Howard, Sir Thomas Wyatt, and William Shakespeare.
      • Sir Philip Sidney was a soldier and poet. He was born in Kent, educated at Oxford, and became one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites. Sidney died of wounds received in a raid on a Spanish colony. He wrote around 105 sonnets, all love poems.
      • Henry Howard was a commander in the British army. As a very quick-tempered man, he made many enemies and was imprisoned many times for misconduct. He was finally executed on false charges of treason. His poestry was secondary to his life as an army commander.
      • Sir Thomas Wyatt was born in Kent and was educated at Cambridge. He was knighted by King Henry VIII. He wrote many sonnets as well as songs and lyrics.
      • William Shakespeare is recognized as perhaps the world's greatest writer. He used poetry in his plays to capture character, motivation, and drama. He wrote many sonnets, such as "The Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame."
  • Many Elizabethan poets wrote about events that actually happened to them. For example, Sir Philip Sidney wrote poems while he was in prison about the effects of imprisonment.

The Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and, till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof —and, proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream,
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
-William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare