England in Shakespeare’s time Done by: Bryan Chia Jun Qing (5) 2P1
Content What was England like in Shakespearian time? [use pictures/ paintings/art etc] What were some of the significant historical events that affected England during this period? Who ruled the monarchy during this period? Did the people in power impact or influence Shakespeare’s work? If yes- How? What was the social system like during these years? What were the theatres like in that era [use visuals]? How did the set up affect the plays that Shakespeare presented?
During Shakespeare’s era Shakespeare lived most of his life during the Elizabethan Age. This is when Queen Elizabeth I was ruling England. The age of Shakespeare was a great time in English history. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) saw England emerge as the leading naval and commercial power of the Western world.
Significant historical events England had three big epidemics of the plague, when lots of people got very sick and died. The plague was like a flu which was very easy to catch. The first plague went around from 1592-1594. The second plague happened from 1603 to 1604. The final plague was 7 years after Shakespeare died. The plague in England was really bad because England had narrow, dirty streets and no clean water. They also had lots of rubbish and rats on the road.
Social system in Elizabethan Era The Monarch Nobles and knights – They were still at the top of the social ladder. These men were rich and powerful, and they have large households. The Gentry class – This included knights, squires, gentlemen, and gentlewomen who did not work with their hands for a living. This became the most important social class in England. Wealth was the key to becoming a part of the gentry class. Merchants Yeomanry – Middle class who saved enough to live comfortably but who at any moment, through illness or bad luck be plunged into poverty. This class included the farmers, tradesmen and craft workers. Laborers
Elizabethan Theatres The Elizabethan Theatres started in the cobbled courtyards of Inns - they were called Inn-yards. As many as 500 people would attend play performances. It was the idea of James Burbage to construct the first purpose-built theatre - it was called 'The Theatre'. It was based on the style of the old Greek and Roman open-air amphitheaters. 'The Theatre' was to be the first of many Elizabethan Theatres. Playhouses were used for many winter productions. Many of the playhouses were converted from the old coaching inns or other existing buildings - all productions were staged in the comparative warmth of these indoor Elizabethan Theatres. Queen Elizabeth made Shakespeare famous, because she was such a supporter of the arts his plays were allowed to exist in England.
Elizabethan Life Elizabethan Village Life changed with the seasons - the busiest being during harvest and hay making periods. People lived and worked in close family units and trades and specific skills were passed from father to son. They played hurling for leisure, which was a combination of hockey and polo. The goal was to hit the ball across the other teams goal with a club or stick. The wealthy people wore clothes made of satin silk or velvet. The lower class wore clothing wool, linen, or sheep skin.