Why did the Puritans close down the Old Globe Theater in 1642?
The Puritans had existed in England since the reign of Mary I (1553-1558). Mary cracked down on Protestants and briefly restored Roman Catholicism to England. After Elizabeth I became Queen in 1558, the Puritans gained more power in England. Their goal was, as their name suggests, to purify the Church of England of all traces of Roman Catholicism. In 1641, members of Parliament who were opponents of King Charles I (who was suspected of practicing Roman Catholicism) presented him with a set of demands called the Grand Remonstrance. The Grand Remonstrance was proposed by John Pym, who was a devout Puritan and who was opposed to Roman Catholicism. The passage of the Grand Remonstrance by the House of Commons in 1641 showed the power of the Puritan faction in Parliament. In 1642, the Puritans in Parliament passed a law that suppressed the production of plays. Puritans felt that the theatre was an ungodly place, and they were perhaps also wary of entertainments that would take people away from church. The Globe Theatre drew their wrath, as it was known not only as a theatre but as a gathering place for drinkers, prostitutes, and thieves. In 1642, the Puritans ordered the Globe Theatre closed, and it was destroyed in 1644.
The Puritans opposed all forms of entertainment. They believed in a very strict code of conduct and "deplored any kind of finery or flippant behaviors". In 1642, the Puritans came to powerin Parliment, dethroned the king and eventually, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. One of their first acts was to begin demolishing theaters. The Old Globe was among the first to be destroyed in 1644. By 1648, all playhouses were ordered demolished. All actors were supposed to be seized and whipped and anyone caught attending a play was fined 5 shillings. This continued until the Restoration of Charles II and in 1660 the theaters opened once again. The Globe, however, was never rebuilt, but in the 20th century its old site was discovered and and new Old Globe Theater has been erected near the original site.
In 1642 the parliament ordered the theaters to close. The cause of this was that the Puritans had been gaining power and at this point civil war broke out between the parliamentarians--who were Puritan--and the Royalists. The Puritans already had problems with the theater, and saw it as base and feared that the amusement offered there would spread immorality. Once the civil war broke out it was thought that no one should be spending their time with such frivolous things as plays and all of London's theaters were closed. In 1644 it was destroyed for new building space.