Culture and Society in Elizabethan England BY n85865 Over the years, society has created and recreated different ideas of what is considered socially acceptable and what customs to follow on a daily basis. These ideas are constantly changing and renewing themselves, making even last year’s behavioral habits seem crude. For instance, life in Elizabethan England contrasted with how life is now because people acted differently, dressed differently, spoke differently, and in a general, broader sense, they lived differently.
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Because people grow and change and learn from their previous mistakes, Elizabethan customs are rustically obsolete due to their lack of effectiveness or rather the lack of need for them to continue. Although it may be difficult to distinguish between the wealthy and the financially unstable in current times due to equal privileges, in Elizabethan times, the two halves lived very differently. In Elizabethan standards, there were three different kinds of poor: the underprivileged kind, which was reserved for orphans and things of that like, the handicapped poor, and the extravagant spenders who had long ago depleted their savings.
The UN-resourceful poor were not offered any help or pitied y others. A large majority of the poor people resided in the countryside and provided for themselves and their families through coal mining, brick making, fishing, or raising crops and livestock (Evans 1-10). Wealthy people rarely had Jobs or if they did, they worked at the court or another clean, sedentary Job. The wealthy earned their riches from hardworking ancestors or being close to royalty so they did not have to continue to labor away to pave the road for new generations (windcheater- era. Org. UK). Homes were not only designed for defense, but their composition also fleeted the wealth of the owners. The poor and middle class built their homes out of a sturdy wooden frame, stuffed with wickerwork and plaster topped with a thatched roof with a hole for smoke to escape while wealthy people used chimneys for ventilation purposes. Thatched roofing mixed with wood, wicker, and plaster made for an easy fire hazard and was even more dangerous mixedwith the wood the furniture was made with at the time.
Page 2 Culture and Society in Elizabethan England Essay
By law, every man was required to work on the roads on designated days but not much effort was put into it so the road conditions were terrible, making travel difficult. The wealthy citizens traveled in horse drawn commissarieswhich were often uncomfortable especially with the rough terrain but they traveled slowly as they were rarely in a need to rush. The lower class and the poor walked the distance and it often too days but unlike the wealthy, this Journey was not intentional (Tudor Life).
In modern day society, homes and roads are safer and the poor or even those who claim to be poor are offered a helping hand and pity from the government. It’s no surprise that government funding offers help to financially unstable families with living essentials to maintain a running nation. Many of the people receiving the aid; however; are actually not struggling and are only claiming to be to use the financial aid for drugs and alcohol or to avoid having to Join the work force rather than using it as intended to care for themselves and their family until they are able to do so themselves.
Rapper Russell Tyrone Jones was a key example of New York City in his private limousine and is shown doing so in an MET feature on his debut to fame. Sifting through those who actually need the welfare and those who do not is a task that requires not only copious amounts of time, but also money o hire diligent employees who are willing to dig through endless amounts of bank receipts and bills to determine whether or not it is necessary. Instead of dividing the poor into multiple groups and offering help to those who are willing to use it properly, as of October 2012, according to statistician. Mom, the welfare system continues to consume $131. 9 billion annually and the only way to stop it is to end the program altogether which would cause riot and protesting for the government’s neglect of the people. Another modern perk is the regulated construction requirements for both buildings and roads. Building designs, especially large scale ones; have to be approved before being conducted to avoid fines and possible demolition of the building.
Some of the more obvious requirements include ventilation, a fire-escape or an exit route, a sturdy foundation, lead free paint, and semi-sturdy materials that will hold against natural disaster or human mishap. This insures that the residents and their belongings are safe and that the time doesn’t have to be put forth to rebuild the homes lost in disaster. Roads are worked on by construction workers when they start to noticeably deteriorate for safe traveling and educed car accidents by fixing potholes and bumps that may disorient a driver.
Construction is a Job rather than an unwanted chore, and like most Jobs, if the work does not get done, the employee does not get paid and will get fired which is a more effective way of making sure the Job gets finished on time. With a college degree though, anyone, regardless of social class, is able to get a high paying or decent sedentary Job. The rich and the poor lived in separate worlds during Elizabethan times whereas now, it may be differentiate the difference between the two groups.
The or in Elizabethan times were divided into three categories but now, no matter what kind of poor, government aid is offered. Marriage can be defined as the state of being united to another person in an intimate manner that is legally recognized but in Elizabethan times, this was not always the case. Elizabethan marriages were a very large ordeal involving not only the town but the families of both parties. The large ordeal was not only unnecessary but also very time consuming and stressful.
Marriages, birth, and deaths were all the three cycles of life that were dealt with in the church (Evans 6-7). Marriages that were done by law and not church were not registered as there were no witnesses to the betrothal. Church marriages were common and proper as they would be recorded by the pastor (Harrison 1640). Fathers could get rid of their daughters by marrying them off or if he didn’t, when the daughter came of age, the parent’s would arrange a marriage for the young teenaged girl to a much older man (Evans 6-7).
At fourteen, a child had been responsible for all their actions long ago and was now ripe with puberty and at thirty, a man could be financially stable enough to provide for a bride and any children she might bring. All the girl’s possessions would go to the man so wealthy women never remained single for long. If problems in the marriage arose, nothing could be done because the rules of the church stated that marriage lasted until the death of each party. Not only were marriages done without the age of both parties in mind, but marriages were not for wealth (Harrison 1640).
The actual marriages themselves were composed of multiple stages. First, the bride and groom would Join in private (Harrison 1640). Then, their marriage would be announced three times at the local church before the ceremony (Evans 6-7). Wedding ceremonies began at the bride’s house where the groom and everyone involved in the wedding would come and claim the bride and they would walk to the church to celebrate and the parish would record them as married. In a modern viewpoint, marriages are intended to be the Joining of two parties, heterosexual or homosexual, in the name of law and love.
Marriages don’t have to be a large ordeal and could even be done through the three minute conveniences of a drive thru. Marrying to increase possessions now is also frowned upon, because it promotes a couple who do not love each other to spend the rest of their lives soother, which could lead to scandals and abuse (Harrison 6). Weddings also don’t have to revolve around the church anymore for it to be considered traditional and valid as all marriages, whether they were done by church or drive-thru, are recorded by the state it was done in.
Men don’t have to marry in their mid-ages now to and can marry even if they are struggling financially. Fortunately, people typically marry within the same age group so 14 year old girls don’t end up with 30 year old men because it is also prohibited by law in modern times and defined as statuary legislation. Divorces can also be arranged and happens to 8% of marriages done in America. Born in the dawn of innovation and invention, also known as the digital generation, every person, rich or poor, has access to medicine, regular checkups, and other medical attention.
This was not true for the people living in Elizabethan times. London streets were crowded with ambitious people on the hunt for Jobs and merchants, as well as the actual citizens themselves (Evans 12). London could be considered the New York City of Elizabethan times but it was less hygienic, if even possible. The idea of plumbing existed but it never caught on and people used “lakes” and that were emptied and cleaned once in a while. Vegetables, when not sold by the vendors, were often tossed to the side of the street to rot.
Because there were so many people living close together in such poor conditions alongside natural waste and animals, sicknesses spread rapidly. Although trained and licensed physicians that understood the concept of circulation existed and were growing increasingly common, they lacked the skill and knowledge to prevent large scale epidemics such as the bubonic plague. Sicknesses were believed to be caused by imbalance in the blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile and could be cured through bloodletting and a change in diet.
Medicine derived from plants existed but homemade alcohol was used the most. The poor were not the only ones susceptible to disease and even Queen Elizabeth I suffered from a near fatal smallpox incident (http://www. Elizabethan-era. Org. UK/Elizabethan-daily-life. HTML). Medicine in modern times is a perfected trade and a very cleanliness one at that. Hospitals are known for their too-clean smell, squeaky, freshly waxed floors, and sterilized objects that are heron away after each use.
Humans still live close together but plumbing and littering laws are virtually the only two things that differentiate New York City or Chicago from Elizabethan London. Sicknesses and viruses still spread but they are contained with medicine and professional medical help to prevent an epidemic. Medicines exist to cure it. Now that modern doctors know what causes certain illnesses and how they are spread, permanent cures for things such as cancer can be developed and mild sicknesses can be prevented to avoid death and plummet of the oral population.
Elizabethans in London generally suffered health related issues and out of three children born, only one survived. This was because London was overpopulated and the towns were lacking in hygiene. Many Elizabethan customs that were considered modern then are extremely outdated and modern society has changed since then for better, or for worse. In Elizabethan times, the poor were divided into sections and not all sections were offered help. The poor, however, lived on the countryside and lived in homes that could be potential fire hazards.
In odder times, help is offered to everyone who is financially struggling and building requirements make houses safer for everyone. Marriages are also simpler now and done for love rather than object and status. Elizabethans rich or poor commonly fell ill because of poor living conditions but modern medicine and technology prevent serious illnesses like the large scale bubonic plague that troubled Europe. Life and customs are constantly changing as well as the way people choose to live and soon, the customs many people in the 21st century are used to, will be considered ancient and primitive.See More on Marriage