Family in the Elizabethan Era

4 April 2015
A summary of the article by Susan Dwyer Amussen “The Family and the Household” which describes family life during the Elizabethan era.

The paper explains Dwyer’s comments that the modern audience of Shakespearean drama may not understand the true nature of the families they see depicted. Amussen corrects the fact that Shakespearean audiences might not understand the structures of family life in Elizabethan times, by providing a detailed analysis of the family, the place of women in the society of the time, the role of children, education, and sexuality. It shows how she addresses a variety of issues to show the nature of the family and the importance of family life in England during the period.
The relationship between parents and children was simpler and more ordered. Children were to obey their parents, and parents would raise the children, introduce them to the world, and help them find a mate that would allow them to begin their own household and their own families.

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Amussen discusses education at some length, for this was how the next generation was shaped and how the business world was entered and directed. Children would first enter the world of commerce between the ages of seven and fourteen, but how they did so depended on their family background, educational level, and knowledge of some business.

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