People in Elizabethan times still grieved the loss of their loved ones as we do. This is evident through the vast quantities of Elizabethan poetry and drama focusing on the subject of death and how it ruthlessly cuts down the living. However, they rubbed shoulders with death more frequently than we do today. The main reasons for this were the following:
First, infant mortality rates were extremely high. It was expected not only that many children would not survive infancy, but also that many women would die in childbirth—and most women had many, many more children than women do today, thus increasing the risk of a childbed death.
Second, medicine was not very advanced. This meant that something we could now cure easily, such as syphilis or even measles, might result in death.
Third, life expectancy was shorter in general. This was related to poorer diets, particularly among the working classes, and also the expectation that many people would work physically demanding and damaging jobs, which could cause earlier death.