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During the era of Elizabethan how was the society?

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mamadou | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 6, 2010 at 8:19 AM via web

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During the era of Elizabethan how was the society?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 6, 2010 at 8:30 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a great question.

The Elizabethan era was marked by many things. The Black or bubonic plague had been through several parts of England.

The rich wore fantastic clothing which decorated them with great ruff collars, fancy silks and velvets, tights for men, and little puffy doublets that made their bellies look bigger than they were. The women dressed in great dresses that wents all the way to their feet, up to their necks, and down to their wrists.

The people's belief systems were based on something called the four humors: fire, air, earth, and wind. They thought based on the way the wind was blowing, that meant something. The Catholic church was also a dominant figure, as were people's beliefs in astrology.

The theatre was new, so the Globe Theatre and The Rose were both popular London destinations for rich and poor alike. The groundlings stood close to the stage for a penny, and the rich purchased box seats on the outer edge covered by a roof.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM (Answer #2)

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It was a time of religious ferver, war, and dispute within and between churches: the Catholics vs. the Protestants!  There were beheadings, burning of heretics, and uprisings--all in the name of God!  Most famously, Bloody Mary.  Enotes has this to say:

It was a brief period of largely internal peace between theEnglish Reformation and the battles betweenProtestants and Catholics and the battles betweenparliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism

The society is reminiscent of today's England: a police state.  Spies, double-agents, terrorists, and the secret police were everywhere.  Terrorists like Guy Fawkes (in the Gunpowder Plot) threatenend to blow up Parliament.  So says Enotes:

The Gunpowder Plot was a conspiracy by English Catholics to blow up Parliament, the law-making body of Great Britain, while King James I (1566–1625) and government officials were meeting inside. The conspirators planned their attack for November 5, 1605, the day when the king was scheduled to open the first session of Parliament. They hoped to start a mass uprising among English Catholics (followers of a religion headed by a pope and based in Rome, Italy), who had become increasingly alarmed at laws that limited the practice of their religion. Several men began perfecting the plot in 1604. Over a period of several months they hid thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in a cellar underneath the House of Lords, one of the two Parliament buildings (the other is the House of Commons). The plan then called for them to go into the cellar and set fire to the gunpowder on November 5. According to the plan, at that point a mass rally would erupt throughout England in opposition to the anti-Catholic laws. The conspirators made a serious blunder, however, by admitting so many people to their group that secrecy was impossible.

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dstuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 6, 2010 at 3:22 PM (Answer #3)

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Queen Elizabeth was Protestant, so the new Protestant church previously founded by Henry VIII was dominant.  Elizabeth inherited a country in which the denomination of the reigning monarch persecuted the other denomination.  She followed the Catholic Mary, who was nicknamed, "Bloody," for her persecution of Protestants.  

Though Elizabeth brought relative peace to England--as far as religious discrimination and persecution is concerned--"relative" is the key word, here.  Catholics faced either discrimination and sometimes persecution, or they closeted themselves--hid their allegiances. 

Elizabethan England was a world of political intrigue and assassination attempts and decease and terrible hygiene:   Not to mention war. 

By the way, your question was extremely vague.  "How was" the society doesn't give editors much to base an answer on.  If you were looking for something different revise your question or feel free to email me. 

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