In the Elizabethan era, views on death and suicide were mainly formulated from a Christian perspective, as set out in the Bible. Queen Elizabeth I was a moderate Protestant. Weekly church attendance was compulsory, and only licensed clergy were allowed to conduct services. The common people had access to Christian instruction through the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, both of which were read in English.
Untimely death or mass deaths due to catastrophes such as plagues were looked upon as signs of God's displeasure or vengeance. Public executions and the display of the heads and corpses of traitors were common. The ubiquity of death gave rise to the symbol of a hooded figure that would call upon all people, rich and poor alike. Shakespeare and other dramatists frequently dealt with the subject of death, expanding the intellectual parameters of thought on the subject. For instance, in Hamlet
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 490 words.)