World History SS21/22
The Enlightenment was a movement of thinkers who believed that science could explain everything in nature. Until then, most
people believed that god controlled the universe in a "metaphysical" manner. Metaphysical means "beyond physical," and
suggests that it is impossible for humans to comprehend things that happen in our environment.
Galileo was one of the first thinkers of the Enlightenment. Galileo used a powerful telescope to discover that many moons
surrounded Jupiter. He used his discoveries to prove the Copernicus' theory that the earth traveled around the sun. The church
was opposed to Galileo's discovery. Galileo was imprisoned for heresy and printers were forbidden to print and of Galileo's
writings. His students continued to discuss his teachings and in time, the ideas of using observations and measurement were to
become the root of modern science.
The thinkers of the Enlightenment encouraged people to use science to explore nature and to question what they had always
accepted without questioning. The Enlightenment encouraged people to participate in government and to rethink old ideas like
feudalism and primogeniture. The American Revolution was seen by many as a huge achievement for the Enlightenment. Two
hundred years ago, our Constitution provided for a government where nobody was above the law. People had freedoms of speech
and religion, and the press would be allowed to print any true statement.
The Enlightenment also had a negative aspect. Many of the thinkers were atheists, who did not believe in god. They often
attacked religion and the faithful. Many were also bloodthirsty in attempting to reach their goals. The French Revolution and the
"Reign of Terror" were two episodes of history that ended the period known as the Enlightenment.
The Baroque Style of Art, Music, and Architecture
· Baroque Art and Architecture was the style dominating the art and architecture of Europe and certain European colonies in the
Americas throughout the 1600s, and in some places, until 1750.
· Baroque may have come from the Portuguese word for "odd-shaped, imperfect pearl"; used by late 18th century art critics as an
expression of scorn for what they considered an overblown, unbalanced style. Today, it is seen as a triumph that marked one of
the high points in the history of Western Culture.
· Development: The papacy and Jesuits encouraged the growth of an intensely emotional, exuberant art. These patrons wanted
artists to go beyond the Renaissance focus on pleasing a small, wealthy cultural elite. They wanted artists to appeal to the senses
and thereby touch the souls and kindle the faith of ordinary churchgoers while proclaiming the power and confidence of the
reformed Catholic Church.
· In addition to underlying religious emotionalism, the baroque drew its sense of drama, motion, and ceaseless striving from the
· Baroque style spread partly because its tension and bombast spoke to an agitated age, which was experiencing great violence
and controversy in politics and religion.
· Many scientific discoveries influenced art; Galileo's investigations of the planets, for example, account for astronomical
accuracy in many paintings of the time. The assertion of the Polish astronomer Copernicus that the planets did not revolve around
the earth was written by 1530, published in 1543, and only fully accepted after 1600. The realization that the earth was not at the
center of the universe coincided in art with the rise of pure landscape painting devoid of human figures.
· Expanded trade and colonization in Africa and the New World gave artists wealth, exotic themes, and an enlarged sense of
· Knowledge that earth isn’t center of universe led artists to seek a depiction of enlarged space in contrast to the ordered
· Rules of proportion were not always observed, and everything was represented according to the artist’s whim.
· Art was naturalistic, not ideal, emotional, not rational.
· Art of movement, vitality, and brilliant color.
· Realism is another integral feature of baroque art; the figures in paintings are not types but individuals with their own
personalities. Artists of this time were concerned with the inner workings of the mind and attempted to portray the passions of the
soul on the faces they painted and sculpted.
· Peter Paul Rubens.
a) Developed his own rich, sensuous, colorful style, which was characterized by animated figures, melodramatic
contrasts, and monumental size.
b) Excelled in glorifying monarchs, but nearly half of his pictures treat Christian subjects.
c) "Daniel in the Lion’s Den" (below)
a)Caravaggio's art is influenced by naturalism and the grand
humanism of Michelangelo and the High Renaissance.
b) His paintings often include types drawn from everyday life
engaged in completely believable activities, as well as
heroic and tender depictions of religious and mythological
c) "The Crucifix of St. Peter"
d) "Death of the Virgin"
e) "The Sacrifice of Isaac"
f) "The Calling of St. Matthew" (below)
g) "Triumphant Entry of Henry IV into Paris"
h) "Abraham and Isaac"
i) "The Apotheosis of Henry IV"
· Among the first major architects of the early baroque was Carlo
Maderno, who is known principally for his work on Saint Peter's.
· Buildings of the
unprecedented size and complexity, and domes of various shapes, as in
the churches of Francesco Borromini, Guarino Guarini, and Balthasar
· Francesco Maria Ricchino, in Milan, and Baldassare Longhena, in
Venice, both designed central-plan churches. Longhena's Santa Maria della
Salute (begun 1631) has been noted for its extravagantly ornate exterior and
its superb site at the entrance to the Grand Canal.
· Many works of baroque architecture were executed on a colossal scale,
incorporating aspects of urban planning and landscape architecture. This is
most clearly seen in Bernini's elliptical piazza in front of St. Peter's in
Rome, or in the gardens, fountains, and palace at Versailles, designed by
Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and André Le Nôtre.
Architect: Baldassare Longhena
Architect: Francesco Borromini
· Baroque music expresses order, the fundamental order of the universe, yet it is always lively and tuneful.
· In the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (right), the different forms and styles of the baroque came together and were brought to
· Bach’s organ music combined the baroque spirit of invention, tension, and emotion in an
unforgettable striving toward the infinite.
· Music which is melodious yet so constructed as to reflect the "perfect order" of the
universe: that is the essence of the baroque. In the words of baroque composer and theorist
Johann Joseph Fux: "A composition meets the demands of good taste if it is well
constructed, avoids trivialities as well as willful eccentricities, aims at the sublime, but
moves in a natural ordered way, combining brilliant ideas with perfect workmanship."
· After Bach music took a different turn. A new style emerged, one which was lighter,
with less stress on pure form. Here we find composers such as Haydn and Mozart, to be
followed by the "romantic" composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
Elizabeth I and the Elizabethan Period:
Elizabeth I was 25 years old when she became Queen of England in 1558. Her 45-year
reign, which ended with her death in 1603, saw England's emergence as a nation of
tremendous political power and unparalleled cultural achievement. Because so much of
this English renaissance is directly attributable to Elizabeth's personal character and
influence (as well as to the unprecedented length of her reign), it is appropriate that the last
half of the sixteenth century in England is identified as the Elizabethan Period.
The very fact that Elizabeth became Queen at all almost indicates some predestination toward greatness and defiance of normal
expectations. The daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn (who later was executed for treason), Elizabeth was
third in line of succession, following her younger half-brother Edward (son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour) and her older half-
sister Mary (daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon). Under normal
circumstances, it would be unlikely that she would ever assume the throne.
However, as has often happened throughout history, events did not follow
their predicted course. The nine-year old Edward became King Edward VI on
the death of Henry VIII in 1547, but he had little opportunity to establish
himself as a monarch, dying at the age of 15. He was succeeded by Mary I
(1553-1558), whose relentless efforts to return England to Catholicism
brought about a true reign of terror and stifled any possibility of forward
movement in the nation. When Mary died suddenly in 1558, Elizabeth I
In both intellect and temperament, Elizabeth was well-suited for the role of
monarch. She was exceptionally well-educated, having been tutored at her
father's court by Roger Ascham, one of the most outstanding scholars and
thinkers of the age. Her intellectual interests were broad, ranging from history
and science to art, literature, and philosophy, and she was a remarkably astute political strategist.
Not only did she return the country to internal political and religious stability in the wake of "Bloody Mary's" reign, she directed
England's course as it became a powerful force among European nations.
Both Spain and France felt the effects of England's growing strength and
audacity under Elizabeth's rule. Furthermore, Elizabeth shrewdly perceived
that great political advantage could be gained from her status as an
unmarried monarch, and throughout her reign various political alliances via
marriage were hinted at but never finalized.
Sir Francis Drake's
circumnavigation of the
globe (1577-1580) added
to the nation's prestige and
navigation and exploration.
However, the pinnacle of
England's power at sea was the triumphant defeat of the mighty Spanish Armada
in 1588, which secured the nation's position as a world power. Eleven years later,
in 1599, England entered the arena of world trade and colonization, which it
would dominate for the next three centuries, with the chartering of the East India
Elizabeth was an enormously popular monarch, one of western civilization's first true cult figures. The following of "The Virgin
Queen," or "Gloriana," as she was called, was extensive; according to many historians, every public appearance became an
occasion for grand spectacle, great pageantry, and huge crowds.
The Queen's tastes in fashion set the standard for the aristocracy and the rest of society; her love of music, drama, and poetry
fostered an atmosphere in which many of England's greatest writers found encouragement and financial patronage. Under
Elizabeth's leadership, England experienced the true cultural reawakening or renaissance of thought, art, and vision which had
begun in Italy a century earlier. Elizabeth's court was a magnet which attracted the most talented individuals of the era, and, at the
Queen's direction, Oxford and Cambridge universities were reorganized and chartered as centers for learning and scholarly
The prosperity, confidence, optimism, and vigor which characterized Elizabeth's court and reign carried over into many aspects
of life. The foremost example of this influence can be seen in what scholar E.M.W. Tillyard terms "The Elizabethan World
Picture," a widely-held set of assumptions about the inherently ordered nature of the universe. Belief in this "Great Chain of
Being," in which every single element has its own prescribed place and function in a hierarchical universe, spilled over into a
general love of structure, intricate design, and elaborate ornamentation which can be seen in the fashion, music, architecture, and
literature of the period.
The greatest literature created during the Elizabethan Period falls into two categories: poetry and drama. Influenced by the Italian
sonnets, which had been introduced into the English language by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) during the reign of Henry VIII,
English poets began to construct their own variations on the intricate, highly structured poetic form. Others, such as Edmund
Spenser (1552-1599) in his extraordinarily ambitious poem of homage to Elizabeth,The Faerie Queen, adapted sonnet patterns
into forms of their own invention.
Even William Shakespeare, who is more commonly associated with drama, varied the rhyme scheme and patterns of the sonnet
form to suit his own purposes in an elaborate sequence or "cycle" of over one hundred sonnets. The pursuit of a literary life was
viewed as an admirable and worthy endeavor, and poets shared their work with each other and at court, vying for the praise and
patronage of the Queen and aristocracy. The Queen herself wrote both poetry and music.
The other great literary achievement of the Elizabethan Period was the drama, a form which was rooted in centuries of popular
folk entertainment and which had been adapted into the religious plays of the middle ages. As the sixteenth century progressed,
playwrights increasingly moved their plots from the simplistically religious to the secular, weaving into their dramas such diverse
elements as legend and myth, classical dramatic forms, intense exploration of character, and familiar conventions freely adapted
from works of their contemporaries. The dramatic form allowed playwrights to simultaneously develop plot, theme, complex
characters, and poetic language which, at its best, as in the tragedies of Shakespeare, soared gloriously and memorably, pushing
the English language to new heights of imaginative achievement.
In an era in which the lives of varied social classes rarely intersected, the theatre was a true common denominator. Everyone,
regardless of social class, enjoyed the spectacle of the Elizabethan theatre, and playwrights found themselves writing for highly
diverse audiences which reflected the ever-changing makeup and energy of society. It was not unusual for a crowd to take in a
morning of public executions, bear-baiting, street carnivals, and fairs before settling down for an afternoon performance at one of
the public theatres in London such as The Globe. The most successful playwrights of the day, such as Shakespeare, made certain
that their dramas included "something for everybody," whether it be bawdy jokes and physical sight gags for the peasant
"groundlings" who stood at the foot of the stage, scenes of action and intrigue for the middle class spectators, or elevated
language and characters to appeal to the more educated upper class citizens who sat in the tiered
galleries around the outdoor stage.
The last years of Elizabeth's reign were not always politically smooth; in fact, by the 1590's there was at
least one serious threat of rebellion, as well as a series of bitter Parliamentary conflicts. But Elizabeth
was steadfast as a monarch and held things firmly in control until her death in 1603. She was succeeded
by her cousin, King James VI of Scotland, who united the two nations as King James I.
England during the reign of Elizabeth I was a country of tremendous ambition, achievement, promise,
and gusto. The accomplishments and spirit of the age are traceable to many sociological and cultural
factors, but foremost among these is the leadership of the forceful, resourceful, and shrewd Queen
Elizabeth I. Her death marked not only the end of the Tudor line, but of a glorious era in English history.
Mary Tudor was born on February 18, 1516, to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. She was destined to be the only surviving
child of this marriage. Henry's mad desire for a male heir lead him to Anne Boleyn, who bore another female, Elizabeth I. Henry
VIII deserted Anne for Jane Seymour, who finally bore a male, Edward VI. Since Edward was Henry's only male offspring, he
would be the first to succeed Henry VIII.
During Edward's reign, Mary shied away from him. This was partly due to the fact that she
was raised by Catherine, who was pro-Spanish, pro-Catholic, and Henry VIII, a man
searching for biblical confirmation of fault within his marriage. Henry VIII would eventually
found the Church of England to accommodate for his separations. Edward followed closely
in his father's footsteps, while Mary had a more profound influence from Catherine. She
grew close to many Catholics and saw the suffering they endured at the hands of Edward's
protestant governors. The Catholics wanted a change and pushed for a Catholic on the
When Edward died on July 6, 1553, Mary prepared to take the throne. However, John
Dudley, a powerful political figure and local high chamberlain, favored the crowning of
Lady Jane Grey ,his daughter in law, Queen. The country, however, favored Mary, and soon
she rightfully took the throne. It didn't take long for the friends and followers of Edward,
seeing that resistance was hopeless, to make their peace with Mary.
After being crowned queen, Mary married Philip II of Spain, perhaps under the influence of Renard, the Spanish ambassador.
Phillip was a cruel and sadistic man, and their relationship saw many problems. She was in ill health, he humiliated her in public,
and he had many affairs with prostitutes and women of the court. At this same time, Sir Thomas Wyatt was in the midst of
organizing a rebellion against the treaty of marriage between England and Spain. Mary acted decisively and with great courage,
and all the leaders of the revolt were executed. With them was the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey. Mercy was shown to Mary's sister
Elizabeth, whether she had been involved or not, as well as to many others.
During this time, Mary continued to vigorously restore Catholicism. Altars began to be set up again, new bishops were added
according to ancient rituals, and High Mass was sung at St. Paul's. An attempt was also made to reenact the statutes against
heresy, but this effort was unsuccessful because of resistance of the Lords. Some of this resistance stemmed from the
apprehension that Catholicism could only be affected at the expense of the abbey lands being returned to the church. However,
when Mary and Philip were married on July 25, it was well known that the Church's property would not be changed. On
November 30, Phillip proclaimed himself as the absolute king over the old king and queen and the Parliament. This Parliament
was the same one that reenacted the ancient statutes against heresy and reversed the enactments made against Rome during the
last two reigns.
Mary, along with many of her advisors, believed that religious peace would not be possible unless many people who spoke
against Catholicism were silenced. Even though the Protestant practices of Henry VIII and Edward VI never really ceased, they
were brought back to the forefront during the reign of Mary. In less than four years, Mary ordered 277 people to be burned at the
Some of those people were highly influential men such as Hugh Latimer, Archbishop Cranmer, and Bishop Ridley. The majority
of those burned were of the lower classes, though. Mary and her advisors believed that they were using the only remedy left to
restore religious purity to their society and put a stop to heresy. However, heresy still occurred on an unprecedented scale.
During the later years of her life, Mary was afflicted by one serious illness after another. Although she had a passionate love for
her husband, Philip, he never returned the feelings. After he realized that she would never bear him a child, he barely gave her
any consideration and, in fact, left England forever. Her last year was filled with misunderstandings with the church for which
she had sacrificed so much. When she finally died in 1558 it was with reverence, as she had
always lived. She had many good qualities. Even at her death, she was able to inspire and create
affection from those who came in contact with her. The story of "Bloody Mary" is still regarded
by historians today as one of the most tragic in history.
There are many misconceptions about Mary Tudor. She was modest, affectionate, well-
educated, kindly, an accomplished musician, and quite charming. These descriptions are not
what we usually associate with "Bloody Mary." Mary Tudor was born February 18, 1516. She
was the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Cardinal
Wolsey, her godfather, raised Mary to be a strong and fervent Catholic.
When Henry divorced Catherine, Mary was greatly disgraced. Mary was close to her mother,
and she soon fell into disfavor with the king. Sadly, Mary and her mother were forcibly
separated. King Henry then married Anne Boleyn. The new Queen looked down upon Mary
and treated her harshly, bringing about rumors that Mary and Catherine were to be sent to the gallows. Catherine died in January,
1536. Anne Boleyn's execution followed a few months later, and Jane Seymour then arose as the new Queen. Unlike Anne, Jane
seemed to try to befriend the already sadened Mary Tudor, who was then only a young woman of 20. However, Jane Seymour
died shortly after giving birth to Edward in 1542.
Mary remained next to little Edward in the line of succession to the throne. After Henry's death in 1547, Edward took the throne.
Edward died on July 6, 1553. News of Edward's death was kept from Mary for several days.
Mary's direct ascension to the throne was blocked by Northumberland, the Lord President of the Council, who contrived things so
that the young king would disinherit both Mary and her half-sister Elizabeth (the daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn) in favor of
Northumberland's own daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey. However, Mary acted quickly, and with rallies of men from Eastern
counties and members of the Council, she was proclaimed as Queen in London. Only a few days after this, Northumberland
hurried to make peace with her.
Under the influence of her advisors, Mary assented to the death of Northumberland and his two followers, who were seen as
"arch traitors." The Catholic bishops were restored to their Sees, and Mary did not carry out the execution of Northumberland or
Lady Jane Grey. Archbishop Cranmer was sent to the Tower for being involved with the rebellion, but there was yet to be
Mary was crowned at Westminster in September. She intended full obedience to the papal authority, and negotiations had already
been opened with the Pope. Meanwhile, Mary was influenced into marrying Philip II of Spain. She announced her intentions of
marriage in 1554. A rebellion was led by Sir Thomas Wyatt in opposition to Mary's wishes. However, she was determined
despite the rallies against her, and the rebellion was easily crushed. The leaders of the rebellion were executed, and with them the
Lady Jane Grey.
Restoration of the English Catholic Church was moving very rapidly, and traditions were going back to the ancient rituals. Mary's
efforts also incited several fanatics who rallied with great emotion and power. Speaking with her advisors, Mary decided that
peace would never come until these revolts were silenced. Once again Mary enforced the heresy laws. In four years, 277 people
were burned to death in the name of peace in the Church. In her defense, however, Mary thought that this was the only way to
establish the Church again and to restore peace within the country.
The rest of Mary's life was bitter and sad. Her life had been plagued with illnesses, and her dropsy (the pathological accumulation
of diluted lymph in body tissues and cavities) had not become fatal. The sad Queen was deeply in love with her husband, who
never returned the affection and gave up on the Queen and England forever when she was unable to bear no heirs. The last of
Mary's life was depressing for her. She died at St. James's Palace in London in 1558, at the age of 42.
Lady Jane Grey: the Nine Day Queen
Throughout the rich history of England, there have been many influential monarchs. Most kings
and queens have inherited the throne. Through tradition one usually is born or married into royalty,
but there are exceptions to every rule. Strangely enough, the shortest term of "office" was held
from July 10, 1553 to July 19, 1553. Lady Jane Grey was the monarch of this terribly brief term
between the death of Edward VI and the ascension of Mary Tudor.
Lady Jane Grey was born in a hunting lodge in October of 1537. She was the great granddaughter
of King Henry VII of England, the first born daughter of Frances and Henry Grey, the Duke of
Suffolk. At the time of Lady Jane's birth, Henry VIII was King and Jane Seymour had just
delivered their son, Edward. Because Henry needed a male heir, he was very pleased with the birth
of his son. As the birth of Edward was seen as an important event, Frances Grey named her first
daughter Jane, after the Queen.
In 1546, at the age of nine, Jane was sent to court to live under the guardianship of Queen
Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. During this period, it was common for children of
wealthy or noble families to spend time away from home.
When Jane was 15, her parents were ready for her to marry. Her parents summoned her presence
and told her she was to marry Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland. Jane was livid,
protesting her love for Edward, Lord of Hertford. She was distraught and expressed her distaste for
Dudley and his family. Her parents, however, wanted her to marry Dudley and assured her that neither she nor her schooling and
living status would change.
Lady Jane was married to Guildford Dudley against her will after being shunned by her parents for opposing the marriage. The
wedding was held at Durham House on The Strand in London on May 25, 1553. During the wedding ceremony Lady Jane's
sisters, Lady Katherine and Lady Mary, also were married. Lady Katherine was married to Lord Herbert, son of the Earl of
Pembroke, and Northumberland's daughter, Katherine, to Lord Hastings. Jane's youngest sister, Lady Mary, was betrothed to her
cousin, Lord Grey. The marriages allied Northumberland to three of the most powerful families at court. The wedding was done
hastily and in a very carefree manner. The wedding apparel had to be borrowed from the Royal Wardrobe. Jane's costume
consisted of a green velvet headdress with precious stones. Her gown of cloth was lined with gold, and she had a mantle of silver
tissue. Her hair hung down her back, combed and plaited in a curious fashion.
In June of 1553, Jane was moved to Durham House where she and Dudley were to live as husband and wife. Shortly after, Jane
was informed of Edward's illness. During this time, Edward's half-sister Mary was preparing to take the throne. Northumberland
convinced the sick and ailing Edward to strike his Catholic sister Mary from the line of succession. Northumberland, who wanted
to keep England as a Protestant nation, feared that if Mary took the throne England would no longer be Protestant. It took the
approval of Parliament to change the succession. Edward's counselors were both reluctant and apprehensive.
Northumberland was cautious, since if his scheme didn't work and Mary ascended the throne, he and his cohorts would be
punished for their disloyalty. Northumberland's persuasive skills got Edward approval from Parliament. He drew up a document
called the "King's Device." This document, signed by Edward's council, stated that both Elizabeth and Mary were to be stricken
or removed from the royal succession; furthermore, it named Frances Grey and her offspring as heirs to his dominion. Frances
relinquished her right to the throne to her daughter, Jane. Although Mary was Catholic and Jane was Protestant, the people of
England felt that Mary had the birthright to take the throne. The people felt that the way that Lady Jane took the throne was
invalid and should be declared null and void.
After nine days of controversy, Parliament decided to remove Lady Jane Grey from the throne. Mary proceeded to take the
throne. Shortly after Mary replaced Jane, an uprising of turmoil called "Wyatt's Rebellion" began. Mary suspected many people
of trying to overthrow her reign. Although Mary primarily suspected her sister Elizabeth of the act of treason, she soon turned her
suspicion toward Lady Jane and Sir Thomas Wyatt. Queen Mary had them both beheaded on February 12, 1554. Lady Jane was
then not yet 17 years old.
Lady Jane Grey was a young lady of great strength. In the 443 years since her death, Lady Jane Grey has been seen by many
people as the archetype of a Protestant martyr. She was a religious heroine whose honor and steadfast faith lead to her choice of
death before desecration. She was a firm believer in her Protestant beliefs. Although she was the queen for only nine days, she
made an amazing impact on the history of England.
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots, was a beautiful and controversial woman whose life was full of
drama and intrigue. She experienced many troubles and obstacles. She triumphed over
many of these obstacles, but in the end she was executed due to her unacceptable
Mary Stuart was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland on December 8, 1542. She was
the daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. Six days after she was born,
her father died, and Mary became the queen of Scotland. Her French mother was chosen
as regent, however, and she sent Mary to France in 1548. Mary lived as part of the
French royal family. In April 1558, she married Dauphin Francis; at this time she
secretly agreed to bequeath Scotland to France if she should die without a son. In July
of 1559, Francis succeeded his father, becoming King Francis II, and Mary became
queen of France as well as Scotland.
In addition, many Roman Catholics recognized Mary Stuart as Queen of England after
Mary Tudor died and the Protestant Elizabeth I succeeded her to the throne in
November of 1558. Mary's claim to the English throne was based on the fact that she
was the daughter of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and Elizabeth's father. To the Roman Catholics, Mary's claim appeared
stronger than Elizabeth's because they viewed Henry's marriage to Anne Boylen as illegal.
Mary's young husband, Francis II, died in December 1560, after a reign of only 17 months. Mary, who was about to be 18 years
of age, was left in a difficult position. Reluctant to stay in France and live under the domination of her mother-in-law, she
decided to return to Scotland and take her chances with the Protestant reformers.
On August, 19,1561, Mary landed at Leith and immediately took the advice of the moderates, James Stuart (her half brother) and
William Maitland of Lethington. She recognized the Reformed Church and allowed it a modest endowment but not full
establishment. For the next few years, Mary tried to befriend Elizabeth, while at the same time negotiating a Catholic marriage
with Don Carlos, the son of Philip II of Spain.
Many people did not approve of the Spanish marriage. Mary felt that a marriage of love was more important than a purely
political match. She then married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, on July 29, 1565. This marriage was unacceptable
to the Protestants. Mary therefore withdrew some of her support for the Reformed Church. Her marriage with Darnley soured,
and she refused him the right to succeed if she died without issue. Alone and heartbroken, Mary turned to to her Italian secretary,
David Riccio, for comfort and advice. Many of the Protestant lords disliked Riccio's influence because they suspected him of
being a papal agent, and Darnley openly stated to everyone that the Italian was intimate with the Queen. On March 9, 1566, a
group of Protestant lords, acting with the support of Darnley, murdered Riccio in Mary's presence at Holyrood Palace. At that
time, Mary was six months pregnant, but she survived the whole ordeal. On June 19, 1566, Mary gave birth to a son, James (who
became King James VI of Scotland and later, James I of England).
By the end of 1566, Mary had befriended James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, and was seeking a way to dissolve her marriage with
Darnley. Various schemes were being concocted; it seems unlikely, however, that Mary was aware of the actual plot to eliminate
her husband. On February 10, 1567, Darnley was murdered at Kirk o' Field; the circumstances of his death to this day remain a
mystery. At the time Bothwell seemed the only suspect. It could not be proven that he was the murderer, so therefore he was
acquitted after a very brief trial. In April, Mary disappeared with Bothwell. Some think she was abducted. Soon after, Bothwell
obtained a divorce from his wife. On May 15, 1567, he and Mary were married according to the Protestant rite.
Due to Mary's marriage with Bothwell, some of her closest supporters alienated her. The many nobles who disliked Bothwell
banded together to face Mary and her new husband at Carberry. The queen was forced to surrender, and Bothwell fled.
Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle, and on July 24, 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favor of her son. Mary escaped
from the castle and immediately rallied a large force behind her. They engaged in a battle on May 13, 1568, and were soundly
beaten by the army led by the Protestant lords. After this ordeal, Mary decided to leave Scotland and go to England to beg
support from her cousin, Elizabeth.
Mary crossed into England and was taken into captivity, where she spent nineteen years. She never returned to Scotland. While
she was incarcerated in England, numerous plots by English Roman Catholic and foreign agents evolved around her. These plots
were frustrated by English agents, but serious alarm was raised concerning the safety of Elizabeth. The Babington plot, which
called for the assassination of Elizabeth, was formed to trap Mary. Mary was found guilty of complicity and sentenced to be
beheaded. Although reluctant to execute her cousin, Elizabeth gave the order that was carried out at Fotheringhay Castle on
February 8, 1587. Mary was buried first at Peterborough; in 1612, after he had ascended the English throne, her son, James, had
her interred in Westminster Abbey.
Mary, Queen of Scots had a very eventful yet devastating life. Her father died at an early age, and she became Queen. She
married three men, two of whom were killed because of her actions. She gave birth to a son, James, who later became James I of
England. In the end she was executed by the orders of her first cousin, Elizabeth. Mary, Queen of Scots lived an intriguing life,
but controversial, life. She will be remembered as a key person during the Elizabethan time period.
The Tower of London: a Brief History
The Tower of London is a visual symbol of the Norman Conquest of
England. It was built by William the Conqueror with stone that was
brought over from Caen.
The English do not relish the memory and like to think that the Tower
went back to Romans and was founded by Julius Caeser. This is not
true, but some parts of the complex rest on Roman foundations.
William I, though, brought over a Norman expert as his artificer,
Gundulf, who designed the Tower. The Tower of London is
considered now by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments
as,"The most valuable monument of Medieval military architecture
surviving in England."
The Tower was not only a fortress but eventually became a royal
palace, state prison, the Mint, a record office, observatory, and zoo. As
a state prison it was used for criminals considered most dangerous to
the state, and the Mint was the treasury for the Crown Jewels. It
became a zoo, the original Zoo, in 1834 when pets that the king had
accumulated over the years were among a great diversity. The zoo consisted of lions, leopards, bears wolves, lynxes, etc.
The general appearance of this complex was much as it is today. Inside the complex,though, there have been many changes.
In front of the White Tower, on the south side, there was a royal palace with private lodgings and great hall. Medieval kings often
took refuge in the lodgings. Many historic events took place here too, such as the murder of the princes, Edward IV's sons. It was
custom for kings and queens to spend the night, or a few days, before their coronation in these royal apartments. These royal
lodgings were eventually swept away, leaving the Tower all alone.
After William the Conqueror the king that left a lasting impression on the Tower was Henry III. By 1236 he had rebuilt the Great
Hall and built the Wakefield Tower next to the royal lodgings. He also built the archway to the Bloody Tower and the main angle
towers along the wall.
A direct waterway entrance from the Thames onto the Tower was difficult and for a time unachievable. It wasn't until the oratory
was built to the martyr St. Thomas that the foundations were ensured for such an entrance. The Water Gate, or entrance from the
Thames into the Tower, later became known as Traitor’s Gate. Henry III's son, Edward I, finished off the Tower.
Several episodes reveal the general history of these times. In 1244 Griffith, son of Llewelyn, the last independent Prince of
Wales, attempted an escape from the Tower by making a rope out of his bedclothes, which resulted in his death after it broke.
During the expulsion of the Jews in 1278, hundreds were kept in the Tower. In 1357-8 the Tower served as an arsenal. Edward III
made many preparations for the French war here which began with a naval victory of Sluys and ended up as the Hundred Years'
The Tower served as a refuge at one point for Richard II, his court, and ministers when the peasants revolted in the summer of
1381. They stayed in the Tower while London burned outside its walls, including John of Gaunt, Richard's uncle's. Among the
King's company in the Tower were his mother, Joan of Kent (widow of the Black Prince), the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Treasurer Hales, and Richard's other lords and ministers. This revolt came to an end when the leader of the uprising, Wat Tyler,
was killed by the Lord Mayor of London, Walworth.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is a complex located on the Thames River in London. It
has a rich history dating back to 1066, when William of Normandy decided to
build the White Tower after he had taken over the kingdom of England. It was
built and completed by Gundulf, the bishop of Rochester, in the year 1078. The
Tower has been used as a royal residence as well as for a prison. Executions
were held in the central keep and outside the Tower on Tower Hill. Yeoman
guards now stand outside this popular tourist attraction.
The Tower of London is a complex made up of many different sections. The
Tower is surrounded by a moat on three sides and the Thames River on the
fourth. The outside fortifications consist of Legge's and Brass Mount. The inner
fortifications, called the Ballium Wall, have 12 towers: the Bloody Tower, the
Wakefield Tower, the Bell Tower, the Lanthorn Tower, the Salt Tower , the
Broad Arrow Tower, the Constable Tower, the Martin Tower, the Brick Tower,
the Bowyer Tower, the Flint Tower, the Devereux Tower, and the Beauchamp Tower.
The Bloody Tower was named after the murder of the English child king Edward V and his brother, Richard Plantagent, Duke of
York, which occurred in this tower. The Record, or Wakefield Tower, was where the records were formerly kept, and where the
royal regalia, or Crown Jewels, are currently kept. The Devereux Tower is named for its most famous prisoner, Robert Devereux,
Earl of Essex, who was held there before his execution for treason in 1601. The Jewel Tower was named for once holding the
The royal apartments at the Tower of London were used as guest rooms for visits by the court, but mostly the fortress was used as
a state prison. The earliest of the prisoners held there was Rannulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham. Others who were once
imprisoned in the Tower are kings and princes, archbishops and abbots, queens and murderesses, traitors and saints, and
freebooters and counterfeiters. The kings of Scotland and France were held there for ransom after their defeats in battle. It was
used as a prison as late as World War II.
Many torture devices were made for the Tower. One was the rack, which would stretch out a person to a foot longer than his
original height. There were also the scaffold and gallows, which were put up on Tower Hill in order to execute people. This
apparatus was the most commonly used device for executing others. Most prisoners were beheaded or hanged, some were killed
trying to escape, or they were murdered. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, wives of Henry VIII, were publicly executed on
Today the Tower of London is a popular tourist sight where the crown jewels are kept. They are guarded in the Jewel House in
the Waterloo Block. The Tower of London also holds a museum of old armor and weaponry used by the people in the
Elizabethan period. Among them are many different styles of armor from all around Europe and weaponry such as cannons and
A popular feature of the Tower of London is the Yeomen of the Guard, known as Beefeaters. These guards wear colorful
uniforms from the Tudor period. There are about 40 of these guards who serve as officers of the Army, Royal Marines, or Royal
Air Force. They are sworn into their office as Yeomen Extraordinary of The Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard,
which was founded by Henry VIII in 1485. The yeomen's closing ceremony at the end of each day is a popular tourist attraction.
The Tower of London is one of the most important architectural sites in London. It is the home of the Yeoman guards, along with
the crown jewels. It has a vast array of influences from the different cultures who added to this remarkable building. Now it has
changed into the popular tourist sight that is a must-see because of its rich history and cultural variety.
Bloody Painful: Crime and Punishment
in Elizabethan England
Though many of today's crimes may be similar to those in Elizabethan England, the methods of punishment have definitely
changed a lot. Most of the punishments of the Elizabethan period would be deemed cruel and unusual by today's standards. The
death penalty can no longer be enacted in cases of theft or highway robbery. The following paragraphs will describe the various
instruments of punishment (torture) of the period.
One out of the ordinary punishment of the Elizabethan Era was the
drunkard's cloak. It was a punishment for public drunkenness; the name of
it is somewhat misleading. The flaw in the name comes from the fact that
the cloak is less a cloak and more a barrel. The drunk was forced to don a
barrel and wander through town while the villagers jeer at him. Holes were
cut in the barrel for the person's hands and head, causing it to become like
a heavy, awkward shirt.
Another weird punishment was the brank, also known as the bride's scold.
The brank was a punishment enacted on women who gossiped or spoke too
freely. It was a large iron framework placed on the head of the offender,
forming a type of cage. There was a metal strip on the brank that fit into
the mouth and was
either sharpened to
a point or covered with spikes so that any movement of the tongue was
certain to cause severe injuries to the mouth. The woman was then led by
a city official through the streets of town by a chain, then usually tied to
a whipping post or pillory to stand in view of the cruel and verbally
Yet another punishment for criminals was the pillory. The pillory was a
wooden post with a wooden block on top with holes in it for the person's
hands and head to be placed in. The heads and hands were then locked
into place while the person was forced to stand in public display for the
decided sentence. In some cases the pillory was combined with a
whipping post and stocks to make a one stop, public punishment device.
Also among the list of Elizabethan punishment methods was the stocks.
The stocks were similar to the pillory in that a part of the body was
locked between two slabs of wood, but in the case of the stocks the feet
were locked in the device instead of the hands and feet. The stocks were
a proposed method of punishment for drunkenness in a 1605 Act. The
offender would be fined to five shillings or six hours in the stocks. The
Act was approved by King James I in 1623. The stocks were often used
as a method of holding a criminal until a more severe sentence could be
decided and carried out.
One punishment about which there is not much to say is the whipping post. It was basically what the name says, a wooden post
that the person was strapped to and whipped for the prescribed number of times. This correctional method was instituted during
the reign of Henry VIII and then continued through the time of Queen Elizabeth.
One more odd punishment worth mentioning was the ducking stool. Like the brank, it was a punishment for women whose
speech was considered too brash and brazen or too free. The ducking stool was a wooden chair attached to a large lever system.
The lever allowed the chair to be raised or lowered without the tipping of the chair, making it parallel to the ground at all times.
The chair was then lowered into the water, dunking the loose tongued woman under the water. Based on the level of the offense
and the cruelty of the deciding party the woman could be "ducked" any number of times, and in some cases of extreme measures,
the woman could drown from the time spent under water. Some of the ducking stools were mobile and could be taken to the
water's edge at the necessary time, while others were fixed into place along the coast of the water as a grim reminder to the
women of the town of what free speaking could lead to.
One tool that was used as punishment was the amputation saw. Much more cruel than the axe, the saw was slower and more
painful than the relative quickness of the axe blade.
Villagers of the period could be considered twisted
individuals because of the crowds of people that gathered
for the public punishments and executions. The people of
the period relished the public hangings, and the persons to
be hanged were often falsely accused of treason, which
called for them to be publicly disemboweled and then cut
into quartered sections to be left on display after the
In conclusion, the punishments of days past were much more cruel than would be allowed today. Private executions have
replaced the public hangings and disembowelments. People are no longer executed for minor crimes like theft, and axes are no
longer used to administer punishments. There are now holding cells for criminals awaiting trial instead of stocks. People of
authority have gotten much nicer.
William Shakespeare was born in April of 1564. There is no specific date of birth because
at that time the only date of importance was the date of baptism, though infants often were
baptized when they were three days old. Shakespeare's baptismal date was April 26, 1564.
Shakespeare was born in the village of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. At the time
of his birth, the village had a population of 1500 people, and only 200 houses.
Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare, came from a family of yeomen, and he gained
many prestigious positions in the community. Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, came
from an ancient family of landed gentry. The whole family was Anglican. The family's
financial situation was well off. Not much information is known about Shakespeare's
youth, although undoubtedly he was educated in the local school, where he studied Latin
and Greek, among other subjects, during a school day that often lasted from dawn to dusk.
Shakespeare's first exposure to the theater probably occurred when he was young. As a
child his father probably took him to see plays when traveling troupes of actors came to
town, although that was not often.
Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway in 1582, when he was 18; she was 26, eight years his senior. The exact wedding
date is uncertain, but the marriage certificate was issued on November 27,1582. Anne was the daughter of a respected yeoman
farmer. William and Anne had their first child, Susanna, in May of 1583. This was followed by the birth of twins, Hamnet and
Judith, in January of 1585. Most historians believe that Shakespeare was not often around his family in Stratford after that
because historical records show him in London during the following years.
The first written reference to Shakespeare's existence in London occurred in 1592, when Shakespeare was in his late twenties. He
seems to have been fairly well established in the theatre by that point, since the reference, written by another playwright, hints of
jealousy at Shakespeare's success.
With his two patrons, the Earls of South Hampton and Pembrooke, Shakespeare rose quickly in the theater as both an actor and
an author. He joined the Lord Chamberlin's Men, an acting company which was protected by the Queen, becoming a shareholder
and senior member in 1595. Because of his success in London, he was able to purchase New Place, the largest and most elegant
house in his home town of Stratford, when he was in his early thirties (1597).
In addition to his popularity as both an actor and playwright, Shakespeare became joint owner of the famous Globe Theater when
it opened in 1599. His share of the company's management added heavily to his wealth.
Shakespeare's financial success in the London theatre enabled him to retire and return to his home in Stratford around 1610. He
lived there comfortably until his death on April 23, 1616 (it is popularly believed that he died on his birthday). He is buried in
Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Though Shakespeare is most closely associated with the Elizabethan period, his career can be categorized as both Elizabethan
and Jacobean, as several works were completed after James I became king in 1603.
The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was an early English theatre in London where most of William
Shakespeare's plays were first presented. It was built in 1599 by two brothers, Richard and
Cuthbert Burbage, who owned its predecessor, The Theatre.
In the winter of 1598, the lease on The Theatre was due to expire because of an increase in
rent. The Burbage brothers decided to demolish the building piece by piece, ship the
pieces across the Thames River to Southwark on the south bank, and rebuild it there. The
reconstructed theatre was completed in 1599 and was renamed The Globe.
The shares of the new building were divided among the Burbage brothers and William
Shakespeare, who had been one of the leading players of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a
popular group of actors, since late 1594. The Lord Chamberlain's Men continued to
perform at The Globe.
The exact physical structure of the Globe is not known, although scholars are fairly sure of
some details because of drawings from the period. The theatre itself was a closed structure
with an open courtyard where the stage stood. Tiered galleries around the open area
accommodated the wealthier patrons who could afford seats, and those of the lower classes--the "groundlings"--stood around the
stage during the performance of a play. The space under and behind the stage was used for special effects, storage, and costume
changes. Surprisingly, although the entire structure was not very big by modern standards, it is thought to have been capable of
accommodating fairly large crowds--perhaps as many as 2000 people--during a performance.
Some people believe that the Globe was identical to another theatre, The Fortune. It is said to have been shaped like a cylinder,
with a thatched gallery roof which was made of straw. The roof had to be coated with a special fire-protectant. In 1613, the roof
was accidentally set on fire by a cannon during a performance of Henry VIII. The entire theatre burned in about an hour. The
Globe was rebuilt a year later, but with a tilted gallery roof and more circular in shape. In 1644, 30 years after it was rebuilt, the
Globe was torn down.
In September 1999, a reconstructed Globe Theatre will officially open in London, 500 years after the first plays were performed
in the original theatre. The late Sam Wanamaker, an American actor, was responsible for the Globe's modern reconstruction.
When he visited London in the late 1940s, he was disappointed to find nothing marking the site of the original Globe Theatre. He
eventually came up with the idea of reconstructing The Globe in its original location. Progress was slow, however. The Globe
Playhouse Trust was not founded until the 1970s, and the actual construction of the new theatre did not begin until the 1980s.
William Shakespeare started writing tragedies because he thought the tragic plots used by other English writers were lacking
artistic purpose and form. He used the fall of a notable person as the main focus in his tragedies. Suspense and climax were an
added attraction for the audience. His work was extraordinary in that it was not of the norm for the time. A reader with even little
knowledge of his work would recognize one of the tragedies as a work of Shakespeare.
A hero today is seen as a person who is idolized. Nowadays, a hero does not have to have wealth or certain political beliefs, but
instead can be regarded as a hero for his/her actions and inner strength. However, in the plays of Shakespeare, the tragic hero is
always a noble man who enjoys some status and prosperity in society but possesses some moral weakness or flaw which leads to
his downfall. External circumstances such as fate also play a part in the hero's fall. Evil agents often act upon the hero and the
forces of good, causing the hero to make wrong decisions. Innocent people always feel the fall in tragedies, as well.
The four most famous Shakespeare tragedies are King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth.
Hamlet is about an emotionally scarred young man trying to avenge the murder of his father, the king. The ghost of Hamlet's
father appears to Hamlet, telling him that he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who has now become the king. Claudius has
also married Gertrude, the old king's widow and Hamlet's mother.
Hamlet is appalled by his mother's actions and by what the ghost tells him about Claudius's cold-blooded murder of his own
brother. To buy time to plot his revenge, Hamlet takes on an "antic disposition," acting like a madman and alienating himself
from the young woman he loves, Ophelia. Finally, his opportunity to publicly reveal Claudius's guilt comes when a troupe of
actors come to Elsinore. Hamlet gets them to stage a play which parallels the murder of his father. The play itself reveals that
Hamlet knows the truth about his father's death; the king's horrified reaction reveals his guilt.
Furious and alarmed, Claudius decides to send Hamlet to England with orders secretly demanding Hamlet's death. Hamlet
confronts his mother about her role in his father's murder and her marriage to Claudius, which Hamlet sees as incestuous and a
betrayal of his father. As tempers, emotions, and voices rise, Hamlet hears a noise from behind the arras (tapestry) in the room.
Thinking Claudius is in hiding, Hamlet thrusts his sword through the tapestry, killing Polonius, an agent of the king and the father
of Ophelia and her brother, Laertes.
The ship on which Hamlet travels to England is boarded by a band of pirates, who release him (but not before Hamlet substitutes
his own death order with an order for the execution of his "friends" who were taking him to his death). Hamlet returns to
Denmark just in time to see the funeral procession of Ophelia, who has drowned. It is suspected that Ophelia's death is a suicide.
Hamlet is confronted by Laertes, who holds him responsible for the deaths of his father and his sister.
A "sporting" duel between Hamlet and Laertes is set up, but Laertes poisons the tip of his sword in order to kill Hamlet during the
fight. Claudius, too, wants to take no chances, and he prepares a poisoned cup for Hamlet to drink from. During the fight,
Gertrude accidentally drinks from the poisoned cup and collapses. The swords of Hamlet and Laertes are switched, and both
Hamlet and Laertes are mortally wounded. Before he dies, however, Hamlet stabs Claudius and also forces him to swallow the
Othello , a Moor serving as a general in the military of Venice, is victimized as a result of his love for Desdemona, the daughter
of a Venetian statesman. The villain of the play is Iago, a career military man who plots revenge against Othello, Desdemona,
and Michael Cassio because Othello has promoted Cassio to lieutenant, a position to which Iago feels he is entitled.
Othello's elopement with Desdemona sets in motion a long line of devious scams orchestrated by Iago. The action of the play
moves to Cyprus, where an anticipated military battle is over before it begins. Iago manages to get Cassio drunk at a celebration
where he had strict orders to refrain from drinking and to be on guard. When a fight breaks out (again set up by Iago) and the
alarm bell is rung, Othello angrily strips Cassio of his title of lieutenant.
Cassio is devastated and humiliated by Othello's action, and Desdemona intervenes on his behalf to convince Othello that
Cassio's punishment does not fit his crime. At the same time, Iago begins to imply to Othello that Desdemona is having an affair
with Cassio. Iago continues to manipulate Othello, raising his suspicions until he is in a jealous rage. At the same time, Iago is
also manipulating both Desdemona and Cassio.
At Iago's prodding, Othello demands that Desdemona produce a handkerchief which was Othello's first gift to her (and which he
has caused to be dropped during his first fit of rage). Desdemona cannot comprehend Othello's fury and his public mistreatment
of her. The handkerchief actually has fallen into Iago's hands, given to him unwittingly by his wife Emilia, Desdemona's lady in
waiting. Iago has managed to plant it in Cassio's chamber as "evidence" of the affair between Cassio and Desdemona. Othello
becomes convinced that Iago is right about Desdemona and Cassio and vows that Desdemona must die. Iago promises to take
care of Cassio for him.
In the final act of the play, Othello awakens the sleeping Desdemona with a kiss and finally accuses her outright of infidelity.
Although she denies any involvement with Cassio and swears her love for her husband, Othello refuses to believe her,
suffocating her with a pillow. Emilia enters the bed chamber and insists to Othello that Desdemona was a faithful wife. Emilia
soon realizes that the villain behind the false accusations is her own husband. When she defends Desdemona's honor and blames
her husband to the officials who gather at the scene, Iago stabs her in the back and escapes. In anguish, Othello kills himself,
asking that he be remembered as one who once did good service for Venice, and one who "loved not wisely, but too well." In an
unusual twist for a Shakespearean tragedy, the true villain, Iago, does not die at the end, although he is to be taken away and
Macbeth is about a noble warrior who gets caught up in a struggle for power. Supernatural events and Macbeth's ruthless wife
play a major role in his downfall.
The play begins by immediately linking Macbeth to the forces of evil and the supernatural in the form of three witches. Macbeth
has demonstrated his bravery and loyalty by leading King Duncan's armies to victory over a the forces of a scheming traitor.
Shortly afterwards, he and his friend Banquo are confronted by the witches, who tell him that he will be given the title of Thane
of Cawdor and will become king. The witches' message to Banquo is not clear: he will be "lesser than Macbeth, but greater," and
his sons will be kings. Macbeth takes the witches' statements as truth when he is given the title of Thane of Cawdor as a reward
for his valor in battle.
Macbeth realizes that the only way he can become king is to kill Duncan, and he is torn between his ambition and his fear that
one murder will lead to many others. Lady Macbeth,just as ambitious and more ruthless than her husband, finally goads him into
committing the murder, devising a plan for Macbeth to kill the king as he sleeps and put the blame on Duncan's guards.
Macbeth goes through with the murder of Duncan, but the act marks the beginning of his descent into guilt, paranoia,
psychological disturbance, and tyranny. He is taken over by a relentless ambition for power and continues to eliminate everyone
that he regards as a threat. His worst acts are the hired assassination of his friend Banquo and the slaughter of the family of
Macduff, a noble who has been openly opposed to him. Macbeth's first fear proves true: the murder of Duncan teaches "bloody
instruction," and Macbeth finds himself getting deeper and deeper into his tyranny and its bloodbath. Macbeth publicly reveals
his guilt when the ghost of Banquo appears to him (and to him only) at a celebration feast; Macbeth's bizarre behavior as he
"confronts" the ghost makes it clear to everyone that he has been involved in the murders of Duncan and Banquo.
In desperation, Macbeth returns to the witches for more information about his future, but rather than telling him anything directly,
they conjure several apparitions which seem to reassure him. He is told to beware Macduff, but he is also told that "no man born
of woman" will harm him and that he will never be defeated until the trees of Great Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane castle. The
witches' last apparition seems to reemphasize the first prophecy that Banquo's sons will be kings.
As the forces of good, led by Macduff and Malcolm, Duncan's son and the rightful heir to the throne, gather strength and prepare
to attack Macbeth's castle, Macbeth's world begins to fall apart. Lady Macbeth goes insane, overwhelmed by guilt for the actions
that she helped to start. The woman who once told her husband that "a little water will clear us of this deed" walks in her sleep,
wringing her hands and trying to wash away the blood and guilt. She eventually takes her own life, and Macbeth begins to sense
the futility of his evil actions, realizing that he has lost everything, including his soul, in his bloody pursuit of power.
When the approaching army camouflages itself in tree branches from Birnam Wood to invade the castle, Macbeth finally comes
face to face with Macduff. Desperately clinging to his last hope, Macbeth tells Macduff that no man born of woman can kill him.
However, Macduff reveals that he was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb, and proceeds to attack. Macbeth faces his
now-certain death with his original bravery, but the reign of terror is ended when Macduff brings in Macbeth's severed head at
the end of the play. Malcolm takes his rightful place as king, and peace is restored in Scotland.
King Lear is a tragic story of an old man's descent into madness as his world crumbles around him. It is also a tale of Lear's
pride and his blindness to the truth about his three daughters and others around him. A subplot of the play involves another
family (that of the Earl of Gloucester) torn apart by a scheming child (Edmund plots against his half-brother, Edgar). Both fathers
suffer a great deal for their inability to see the truth about their children.
As the play opens, Lear has ruled well and is regarded highly in his kingdom. However, he has reigned for a long time and wants
someone to take over his duties as he moves toward his last years. He announces that he will divide his kingdom among his three
daughters on the basis of how much they can gush about how much they love him.
The two eldest, Goneril and Regan, know exactly what they are to say in order to win over their father and a big share of his
wealth and power. The youngest daughter, Cordelia, is the most sincere and true to her father. She knows what her sisters are
doing and decides not to flatter her father with overwhelming complements, but instead to tell him that she "loves his majesty
according to her duty, neither more or less." Angered by what he sees as ingratitude and Cordelia's refusal to play the game of
flattery, Lear gives her none of his wealth and cuts her off entirely. Lear even banishes his faithful friend Kent, who tries to
intervene on Cordelia's behalf. The King of France comes to Cordelia's rescue by offering to marry her.
According to the arrangement with his daughters, Lear will divide his time equally between them, living with each daughter and
her husband for a month at a time. He also will bring along a retinue of one hundred knights. Lear lives first with Goneril and her
husband, the Duke of Albany. However, Goneril soon tires of the burden and argues with Lear, sending him off to her sister,
Regan. Regan, too, wants no part of caring for her father, and she and her husband, the Duke of Cornwall, leave home to stay at
the castle of the Earl of Gloucester.
Eventually, Goneril and Albany , Lear and his Fool, and Kent (now in disguise but determined to help Lear) all arrive at
Gloucester's castle,where the sisters and Lear engage in a bitter confrontation. Infuriated by Goneril and Regan's repeated
attempts to strip him of his knights and his dignity, Lear realizes that Cordelia was the only daughter who actually loved him, and
he runs out into a violent thunderstorm. Cornwall, Goneril, and Regan shut the doors of Gloucester's castle against the frail old
man, leaving him to fend for himself against the elements of the storm. Cornwall and Goneril show the true extent of their awful
cruelty when, in the next act, they pluck out Gloucester's eyes and leave him for dead because he has confessed (to Edmund, who
has then immediately reported it to Cornwall) his sympathy towards Lear and Cordelia. Cornwall is mortally wounded in this
scene, stabbed by a servant who tries to stop his cruel attack on Gloucester.
In the midst of the storm, Lear rails against the elements, but he begins to become aware of the suffering of mankind in general,
as well as his own. He also loses his sanity, but he is lovingly cared for by Kent, the Fool, and Edgar (Gloucester's exiled son
who, like Cordelia, has been tricked by his unscrupulous sibling and now is posing as a lunatic, "Poor Tom" as he waits for an
opportunity to put things to rights). The four take refuge from the storm in a hovel on the heath. Later, the blinded Gloucester is
reunited with Lear, as well.
Hearing that her father is in trouble, Cordelia comes from France with an army to fight against Goneril and Regan and their
husbands. With the help of Kent, she is reunited with Lear, though in the battle between England and France, the forces of
Albany and Cornwall are victorious, and Lear and Cordelia are taken prisoner. Edmund, who has allied himself with both Goneril
and Regan and has led each to believe he will marry her, secretly orders that Cordelia and Lear be killed in their prison cells.
Albany reveals his true nobility when he turns against his scheming wife, Goneril, and accuses her of treason, along with Regan
and Edmund. Edmund refutes the charge, and his guilt is to be determined by duel, with an unknown warrior representing Albany
and his charge. The "agent" is Edgar, who has come into possession of a letter from Goneril to Edmund and has given it to
Albany; in the letter, Goneril outlines their plot to overthrow Albany once the battle with Cordelia is over. The trumpet is
sounded, and Edgar appears to fight Edmund. His true identity is not revealed until he has won the fight and Edmund lies dying.
Edgar then tells Albany his account of the period of exile with Lear and of his own reunion with Gloucester. Edmund appears to
be moved by Edgar's story of compassion and suffering, and when Kent arrives on the scene, Edmund suddenly remembers his
order for the deaths of Lear and Cordelia. At almost the same moment, Albany is informed that Goneril has taken her own life
and has also poisoned her sister as a result of their bitter rivalry for Edmund's affections.
Tragically, Edmund's "recollection" is too late--Lear enters carrying Cordelia's body. He is a pitiful picture--a frail old man who
has suffered terrible losses, in part because of his own pride and blindness, and in part because of the evil of Cornwall, Edmund,
and his two daughters. Lear himself dies in the final moments of the play, heartbroken and beaten by the bitter and cruel storms
he has endured.
Although the main characters of these tragedies possess different traits, they all can be described as tragic Shakespearean heroes:
they are basically good and noble men whose tragic flaw leads to their destruction.
William Shakespeare's plays come in many forms. There are the histories, tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies. Among the
most popular are the comedies, which are full of laughter, irony, satire, and wordplay.
Many times the question is asked: what makes a play a comedy instead of a tragedy? Comedies treat subjects lightly, meaning
they don't treat seriously such things as love. Shakespeare's comedies often use puns, metaphors, and insults to provoke
"thoughtful laughter." The action is often strained by artificiality, especially elaborate and contrived endings. Disguises and
mistaken identities are often very common.
The plot is very important in Shakespeare's comedies. They are often very convoluted, twisted and confusing, and extremely hard
to follow. Another characteristic of Shakespearean comedy is the themes of love and friendship, played within a courtly society.
Songs often sung by a jester or a fool parallel the events of the plot. Also, foil and stock characters are often inserted into the plot.
Love provides the main ingredient for the plot. If the lovers are unmarried when the play opens, they either have not met or there
is some obstacle in the way of their love. Examples of the obstacles these lovers go through are familiar to every reader of
Shakespeare: the slanderous tongues which nearly wreck love in Much Ado About Nothing; the father insistent upon his daughter
marrying his choice, as in A Midsummer Nights Dream; or the expulsion of the rightful Duke's daughter in As You Like It.
Shakespeare uses many predictable patterns in his plays. The hero rarely appears in the opening lines; however, we hear about
him from other characters. The hero does not normally make an entrance for a few lines, at least, if not a whole scene. The hero is
also virtuous and strong, but he always possesses a character flaw.
In the comedy itself, Shakespeare assumes that we know the basic plot, and he jumps right into it with little or no explanation.
Foreshadowing and foreboding are put in the play early and can be heard throughout the drama. All Shakespearean comedies
have five acts. The climax of the play is always during the third act.
Shakespearean comedies also contain a wide variety of characters. Shakespeare often introduces a character and then discards
him, never to be seen again in the balance of the play. Shakespeare's female leads are usually described as petite, and often they
assume male disguises. Often, foul weather parallels the emotional state of the characters.The audience is often informed of
events before the characters, and when a future meeting is to take place it usually doesn't happen immediately. Character names
are often clues to their roles and personalities, such as Malvolio from Twelfth Night, and Bottom in A Midsummer Nights
Many themes are repeated throughout Shakespearean comedies. One theme is the never-ending struggle between the forces of
good and evil. Another theme is that love has profound effects, and that people often hide behind false faces.
The comedies themselves can be sub-categorized as tragicomedies, romantic comedies, comedies of justice, and simple
entertaining comedies with good wholesome fun. Many of these plays remain popular favorites 400 years after they were written.
A Midsummer Night's Dream was written in 1596. It has become one of Shakespeare's most loved comedies. It makes fun of
everything from love at first sight to realistic staging. The play refers to "fair vestal throned by the west," which was once thought
to have been a polite acknowledgement of the Queen's presence in the audience. The play was first printed in a quarto edition in
Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy about a love relationship. It has a basic plot that's more orthodox than those of
most of Shakespeare's plays. It's about two strong personalities who see each other as combatants, rather than partners. The play
exploits games of verbal punning and backchat between two reluctant lovers. Much Ado About Nothing first appeared in a quarto
Twelfth Night is the most intricate of Shakespeare's great middle-period comedies. Written in 1601, it plays the familiar games of
the time with boys playing girls who dress as boy pages. It is also filled with confusions of identity and memorable verbal put-
downs. The play was not printed until the First Folio of 1623.
The Winter's Tale is a late tragicomedy, written in 1609-1610. It ranges through sixteen years in time, marked by the choric
figure of Time himself, and through a fantastic geographical and range from Sicily to Bohemia. Shakespeare took this story,
which shows the healing and restorative power of love, from an old romance. The play was printed originally in the First Folio of
The Merry Wives of Windsor, written some time between 1597 and 1599, is the only comedy that Shakespeare set in his own
time and country. For all the London scenes with Falstaff in the history plays, Shakespeare usually chose to set his comedies in a
foreign land. The use of local settings was still very new in the plays of this time. The play is an exciting piece of work, full of
eccentric characters and slapstick comedy. The play first appeared in a memorial version, written down largely from memory, in
1602. A better text appeared in the First Folio.
Even though William Shakespeare died many years ago, his works are still remembered and cherished. His plays are popular and
are still performed all over the world. Shakespeare's comedies are still loved and looked to as classics.
The King James Bible
James I (1566-1625) was the first Stuart king of England. He became James VI of Scotland in 1567 when his mother, Mary,
Queen of Scots, gave up the throne. When James's cousin Elizabeth I died in 1603, he became King James I of England and ruled
both England and Scotland until his death. James's son, Charles l, succeeded him.
James believed in the divine right of kings and queens, the belief that kings and queens get the right to rule from God, rather than
from the people. He set up a strong royal government in Scotland, but the English Parliament opposed his attempt to rule as
absolute monarch in England. This dispute over who should have power continued under Charles I and led to the English Civil
War in 1642.
James supported the Anglican Church and sponsored a translation of the Bible that is now known as the King James or
Authorized Version. In 1604, King James authorized a committee of about 50 scholars to prepare a revision of earlier English
translations of the Bible. Only 47 were known to have taken part in the actual translation. These men were the best Biblical
scholars and linguists of their day.
The translators were organized into six groups and met at Westminster, Cambridge, and Oxford. Ten at Westminster were
assigned Genesis through 2 Kings; seven had Romans through Jude. At Cambridge, eight worked on I Chronicles through
Ecclesiastes, while seven others handled the Apocrypha. Oxford employed seven to translate Isaiah through Malachi; eight
occupied themselves with the Gospels, Acts, and Revelations.
The King James Version of the Bible appeared in 1611. No important English translations of the Bible appeared for more than
200 years after the publication of the King James Version. It was the most widely used translation in the English-speaking world.
In the early 1600's, the Catholic Church forbade anyone but priests to read the Bible. But under James, the new "Authorized
Version" had just been published, and for the first time everyone could read the Bible or hear it read.
The King James Version was a landmark in the development of English prose. Its elegant yet natural style had enormous
influence on English-speaking writers. There were no newspapers and not many books in English that were of concern to simple
people, and in its new and splendid translation into what was then the most up-to-date English, the Bible was soon the most
popular book in English.
By the mid-1800's, scholars and religious leaders were calling for fresh translations of the Bible. Scholars had more accurate
knowledge of the original Hebrew and Greek Biblical texts and so uncovered many errors in the texts used by the King James
revisers. Scholars had also gained more knowledge of other ancient Near Eastern languages, which added to their understanding
of the Biblical languages. In addition, the English language itself had changed greatly over the years. Many words in the King
James Version no longer had the same meaning or were even understood by readers of the Bible.
In 1870, the Church of England decided to revise the King James Version. The revised New Testament appeared in 1881, the Old
Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1895. But the early popularity of the translation, called the Revised Version, did not
last. Most individuals and churches still preferred the King James Version.
For many people today, houses are not only places to live; they are status symbols. This is the same way homes in the
Elizabethan period were looked upon and judged: as signs of social class and personal status.
There were several types of homes in this period: royal works, great houses, smaller country homes, and farmhouses. As in
modern day times, much of a person's choice of a home depended on his income and the social class with which he was
associated. The kings and queens had the royal works, which were usually spread for miles, as far as the human eye could see.
The upper-class, usually doctors or business men, had what was known as great homes. These were not as outlandish and
extraordinary as the royal works but were definitely very large and quite nice. The smaller country homes were usually owned by
the merchants and craftsmen (tradesmen). Lastly, there were the farmhouses, which most of the time were occupied by farmers
and their families.
As the royalty of the Elizabethan period grew, so did their homes, not
only in size and magnitude, but also in greatness and volume. These
homes had glorious stone foundations with several levels and too many
rooms to count. Many of these houses contained numerous halls,
chapels, great rooms, parlors, large bay windows, and several flying
buttresses. The courtyards had miles of beautiful vegetation and
extraordinary stone gardens and walls. These homes were not
commonplace for this period, but they were nothing less than absolutely
The great homes of this period contained many of the same features as
the royal works, but on a lesser scale. These homes were by no means
shabby or small; they were large, and in some cases, just as beautiful as
the royal homes. These homes were usually built for members of the
upper social class. Many times these elegant homes were complimented with beautiful gardens, lots of land, and beautiful
countryside scenery. These homes contained several well-renowned great rooms, parlors, and dining areas.
The smaller country homes were most commonly under the ownership of crafts men and tradesmen. These homes were not only
nice and cozy, but were also very inexpensive to build because they often were built from materials that the owners already had.
These homes were usually two stories with a kitchen, family room, and several bedrooms. Some people feel that the small
country homes are just as beautiful as the large royal works of the century. These houses were by far much more commonplace
than the huge and extravagant homes of the royalty and the others who were solely concerned with the social status shown by
Lastly, the farmhouses were mainly owned by the farmers and lower or middle class people such as merchants and others
involved with market trade. These homes were much like the small country homes but had a few differences in the structure and
makeup of the interior. These farm houses weren't used as social symbols; instead, they served simply as a nice place to just live.
Elizabethan Food and Drink
Food and drink were a major part of life in Elizabethan times. People had three main meals per day. Breakfast was the first and
most important meal of their day. The people of this time ate a variety of different foods and had many creative ways of
preparing them. The people also had distinct table manners.
In eating breakfast, many people wanted a fine diet. Instead of eating normal bread, many ate manchets. Manchet was a round
loaf which weighed about six pounds after it was cooked. It was browner than normal bread. When bread was eaten in the
morning, butter was used to flavor it so that the bread was not so boring. Children often ate butter in Lent. However, adults who
kept the fast strictly avoided butter during this time. Eggs were also eaten at breakfast. They were eaten "sunny side up" or beaten
to make scrambled eggs. They were also mixed with bread crumbs to fry things such as fish. Another popular food for breakfast
was pancakes, which were made from flour and egg batter. They were a treat for Sunday mornings. Elizabethans usually put jams
such as grape, strawberry, and sometimes powdered sugar on them for a sweeter taste. Breakfast, the hardiest of all their meals,
gave a healthy start to their day.
In earlier times, water was the main beverage. However, as farmers became more important, other drinks came along also. Milk
was known for building healthy bones and giving a refreshing taste after a dessert. Farmers got milk from cows and she-goats.
Other sources of liquid were a part of stews and potages. Other beverages were created from a wine base.
A famous hot wine recipe from this time is as follows:
1/2 put (275 ml) water
11/2 (850 ml) white wine
8 oz (225 g) ground almonds
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml) clear honey or white sugar
A good pinch of salt
A good pinch of Powdered Saffron or a few drops of yellow food coloring.
Bring the water and wine to a boil in a sauce pan. Put in the almonds and add the ginger, honey, or sugar and salt. Stir in the
saffron or food coloring, and leave off the heat to stand for 15-30 minutes. Bring back to a boil, and serve very hot, in small heat
Another popular wine base drink was a caudle, a hot drink thickened with eggs and drunk at breakfast or at bedtime.
There were many differences between the meals of the higher and lower classes. Dinner was the most important meal for any
class and came usually from 10:00 a.m. till noon. Ploughmen were well-scrubbed and usually ate at bare tables. Country table
manners were not the daintiest. In a well-to-do household, however, a greater ceremony was observed. There was a cloth placed
upon the table. Next, a trencher, a napkin, and a spoon were set at every place. Elizabethans loved fine linens.
An Elizabethan dinner usually consisted of several kinds of fish, half a dozen different kinds of game, venison, various salads,
vegetables, sweet meats, and fruits. Rich men usually served food that suited them. Most had noted French chefs to prepare their
meals. Many had a very moderate diet. Guests at a pleasant dinner table were offered oysters with brown bread, salt, pepper, and
A pepper box and a silver chafing dish were among the table accessories. The wine was kept cool and fresh in a copper tub full of
water. Each time a guest handed back an empty glass or goblet it was rinsed in a wooden tub before being refilled.
Guests were able to choose between roast beef, powder (salted) beef, veal and a leg of mutton with a "galandine sauce." There
was often a turkey, boiled capon, a hen boiled with leeks, partridge, pheasants, larks, quails, snipes, and woodcock, in addition to
the other foods. Salmon, sole, turbot, and whiting, with lobster, crayfish, and shrimps, were set before dinner guests. Young
rabbits, leverets, and marrow on toast tempted those who did not care for the gross meats. Artichokes, turnips, green peas,
cucumbers and olives were provided as vegetables. Attractive salads, including one of violet buds, were also served as
vegetables. Finally, the host or hostess would usually offer guests quince pie, tart of almonds and various fruit tarts. They would
also be offered several kinds of cheese and desserts, including strawberries and cream.
The midday meal in a good citizen's home consisted of certain coarser foods like sausage, cabbage (usually badly cooked) and
porridge for the children. It was customary to spend two to three hours over this chief meal of the day. The nobility, gentleman,
and merchant men commonly sat at the board till 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. Country fare was given with fat capon or plenty
of beef and mutton. They also recieved a cup of wine or a beer. They were also given a napkin to wipe their lips. In the holiday
season, rich and poor alike indulged in leisure time and feasting.
People in the middle and lower classes ate lots of potages and stews. They also had fish and vegetables at dinner. Behind the first
cooked potages was the tradition of food processing. This consisted of soaking roots, leaves, seeds, nuts, and berries in cold
water. They were soaked several hours in order to soften them, which made them easier to digest.
Next, the pot boiler method was used for cooking meat in water to make it more tender. Potage was made primarily from cereals
and large weed seeds, which were roughly ground into bits and pieces.
Altogether there were many things to eat during this period. Overall the diet was much healthier than what many people eat now.
During the holiday seasons everyone, including farmers and laborers, celebrated in holiday feasts.
The two main parts of a normal diet in the Elizabethan England time were bread and meat. Bread was the most important
component of their diets. The wealthy people ate manchet, a loaf made of wheat flour. In the country districts, a lot of rye and
barley bread were eaten.
Another important component of an average diet was meat. England had been noted for its meats and means of preparing them.
The English had a way of making tainted meats edible. First, a person would remove the bones from the meat. Then, they would
wrap it in an old, coarse cloth. After it was wrapped, they would bury it at least three feet underground. It was left underground
from twelve to twenty hours. When the meat was dug up, they found it sweet enough to eat. They also used a lot of spices to add
flavor to the unrefrigerated meat. Soaking the meat in vinegar and adding sauces also flavored the meat.
One particular meat dish was Polonian Sawsedge, usually eaten from November to February, when fresh meat was scarce. The
dish was made from the fore part of a one or two year old tame boar. It was a very heavily spiced dish. The recipe is as follows:
Platt's Recipe for Polonian Sawsedge
"Take the fillers of a hog; chop them very small with a handful of red sage: season it hot with ginger and pepper, and then put it
in a great sheep's gut; then let it lie three nights in brine; then boil it and hang it up in a chimney where fire is usually kept; and
these sawsedges will last a whole year. They are good for sallades or to garnish boiled meats, or to make one relish a cup of
In Elizabethan times, the word "herb" stood for all things that were green. This included things from grasses to trees. One popular
vegetable of the time was turnips, which were usually either boiled or roasted. The poor, however, ate them raw. Artichokes were
eaten raw with added salt and pepper. Asparagus, which was known as "sperage" during this time, was boiled and eaten with salt,
oil, and vinegar. The sweet potato, a popular dish, was roasted in ashes, sopped in wine, or topped with oil and vinegar.
Sometimes, sweet potatoes were even boiled with prunes for flavor. Regular potatoes were also either boiled and roasted.
The cooking techniques related to the kitchens of the landowners. There was invariably some kind of fresh meat to replace the
preserved foods on which lesser households depended in winter and spring. Fresh or salted ingredients were used according to
availability. Cooks used a great deal more than a pinch of pepper, ginger, cinnamon and saffron due to the starchy ingredients and
creamy sauces. Many techniques and materials solved contemporary food preparation problems.
Texture was important because of the limited number of eating tools used. Most people carried a general-purpose dagger-shaped
knife and spoons. The dinner fork was an oddity until the 18th century. People tried inventing different eating tools but failed. A
few eccentrics used a fork for dining, but most continued to eat with their fingers. Supposedly, it was Henry VIII who introduced
the fork into England. In some places, such as the Navy, knives and forks were regarded as being prejudicial to discipline and
The absence of the table fork would have had few repercussions on table manners, had it not been for the way in which the
service of food was organized. Very high ranked men had their own dishes, plates, and drinking cups. No napkins were used at
this time. Men had to remember to clean their hands before their meal and keep them clean during the meal. Other table manners
were not to blow one's nose with the fingers and not scratch at any anatomical parts at the table. Poking at the meat or any dish
was considered unpleasant and annoying to others. When dinner guest were finished with the meal, the bones were thrown on the
floor, not on the plate. This was a custom in elevated households. Finally, to finish the meal right, a delicate burp was acceptable.
Whether one was a member of the high or low class, manners were the same for everyday life.
In conclusion, food and dining were a part of everyday life in Elizabethan time. They had many different dishes and styles of
cooking. They also had distinct manners and traditions that went along with their meals.
Elizabethan Banquets and Feasts
For two hundred years, food has been the center of development of society. It has dictated population growth and urban
expansion; influenced economic, social, and political theory; separated the royalty and peasantry; widened the horizons of
commerce; inspired wars of dominion; played no small role in the creation of empires; and precipitated the discovery of new
worlds. It has been very important in relations between peoples, particularly in the social gathering of a diverse group of people
such as the banquets that were popular in Elizabethan days.
To this day people engage in banquets like people did in the Elizabethan Period. Though the menus have changed, the idea of
social gathering with food is just about the same. People now can go to places such as "Old Country Buffet" (a popular "all you
can eat buffet") and eat an extravagant amount of food that almost anyone could afford.
Another important difference between modern day buffets and Elizabethan banquets is this: only the royalty and the wealthy in
those days could afford to have such a feast because a peasant obviously could not afford roasted peacock or swan. Now all a
person needs is $8.14 to stuff himself or herself silly.
The menus of Elizabethan feasts usually consisted of such foods as these:
Miniature pastries filled with cod liver or beef marrow
A cameline meat "brewet," pieces of meat in a thin cinnamon sauce
Eels in a thick spicy puree
Loach in cold-green sauce flavored with spices and sage
Large cuts of roast or boiled meat
(hulled wheat boiled in milk, with flavored sugar and spices)
Broth with bacon
A meat tile
Carpon pasties and crisps
Bream and eel pasties
Lampreys with hot sauce
Roast bream and darioles
(a dariole is a small cream tart with puff pastry, in a circular mold)
Spiced wine (for digestion)
One famous ceremonial feast consisted of 50 crabs, 18 trout, 9 large and 9 small pike, 4 large salmon, 18 brill, 10 large turbot,
200 cod tripes, 50 pounds of whale, 200 smoked and 200 pickled herring and a numerous amount of food after that.
Banquets of these times were so big that hosts employed servants for the oddest job tasks. One example would be the bread
trencher; his job was to get fresh bread and replace it with the old bread that had gotten stale during the meal.
People of this time did not use the utensils that we use now. They thought that using their hands to scoop out the food was much
more efficient. Several table manner books came out at this time because it was most obvious that one did not want to eat after
his or her neighbor scratched himself and then scooped food out with the same hand.
During the Elizabethan Period people prepared a wide variety of foods that would be unheard of in restaurants today. English
people were very visual about their food. They loved strange shapes and particularly enjoyed dishes of unusual colors. Unusual
dishes included such treats as small birds in a pie, roast peacock, hedgehogs, or roast Swan. Even though they did not eat such
dishes as swan and peacock, they were used as a centerpiece decoration among the royalty.
An Elizabethan recipe for hedgehogs has been translated for people of the 20th century:
Take Piggis mawys, & skalde hem wel: take groundyn Porke, & knede it with Spicerye, with pouder Gyngere, & Salt & Sugre;
do it on the mawe , but fille it nowe to fulle; then sewe hem with a fayre threde, & putte hem in a Spete as men don piggys; take
blaunchid Almaundys, & kerf hem long , smal, & scharpe, & frye hem in grece & sugre; Take a litel prycke, & prykke the
yrchouns, An putte in the holes the Almaundy, every hole half, & eche fro other; ley hem then to the fyre; when they ben rostid,
dore hem sum whyth Whete Flowre, & mylke of Almaundys, sum grene, sum blake with Blode,& lat hem nowt brone to moche,
& set forth.Serves 6-8
2 lb (4 cups) minced (ground) pork
2 tbs breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mace
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs sugar
1/2 oz (1 tbs) softened butter
2 egg yolks
2 oz (4 tbs) butter
4 tbs vegetable stock or water
2 oz slivered almonds
Modern Translation: Mix the pork, breadcrumbs, spices, seasonings and softened butter. Bind with the beaten egg yolks and
form a ball. Place in a buttered pan. Cook, covered, for 1 hour, basting at intervals with the rest of the butter melted in the
vegetable stock or water. Stick the slivered almonds, dyed with the vegetable colouring, all over the pudding, so that they look
like the quills of a hedgehog or a sea urchin (recipe from Seven Centuries of English Cooking).
Great Plagues of the Elizabethan Period
Widespread diseases have been serious medical problems for a long time. From the very
earliest plagues, there were simple bans on preventing movements of goods and people from
one area to another. By the sixteenth century, however, there were systems of quarantine in
many parts of Europe.
As many writers have stated, the first case of a water-borne disease was probably caused by an
infected cave man polluting the water upstream of his neighbors. Entire clans were probably
destroyed, or maybe the panicky survivors packed up
their gourds and fled from the "evil spirits"
inhabiting their camp to some other place.
As long as people lived in small groups, isolated
from each other, there were not many incidents of
widespread disease. But as civilization progressed,
people began clustering into cities. They shared
communal water, handled unwashed food, stepped in
excrement from casual discharge of manure, and
used urine for dyes, bleaches, and even treatment of
Several Christians of the 14th and 15th centuries earned status as saints by setting an
example of helpful charity toward plague victims. They also were thought to preserve
the healthy from the ravages of the plagues. The popularity of St. Roch of Montpelier
grew steadily during the 15th century, especially in Italy and Germany.
Writers of this time described plague in great detail in their diaries and chronicles. One
of the most common observations was the Italian writer Boccaccio's description of
people being abandoned in the epidemic. His description was picked up by other writers. Images of abandonment because of
plague can be traced from Italy to writers in France and Germany.
As cities grew and became crowded, they also became the nesting places of water-borne, insect-borne, and skin-to-skin infectious
diseases. Typhus was most common, reported in the 17th century by Thomas Sydenham, England's first great physician. Next
came relapsing fever, plague and other pestilential fever, smallpox and dysentery (a generic class of disease that includes what is
commonly known as dysentery), as well as cholera.
Nonexistent or poor plumbing was merely one of
many sanitation factors that gave rise to the Black
Death of the Middle Ages. Other scourges are also
directly related to human waste. Dysentery is one
that has left an indelible mark on history.
Characterized by painful diarrhea, dysentery is
often called an army's "Fifth column." Dysentery
was identified as the time of the Hippocrates and
before. It comes in various forms of infectious
disorders and is said to have contributed to the
defeat of the Crusaders.
Typhus fever is another disease born of bad
sanitation. It has come under many headings,
including "jail fever" or "ship fever," because it is
so common among men in pent-up, putrid
surroundings. Transmitted by lice that dwell in
human feces, it is a highly contagious disease.
Typhoid fever, a slightly different disease,
involves a salmonella bacillus that is found in the feces and urine of infected people.
Another water-borne disease, cholera, has been one of history's most violent killers. However, through cholera epidemics, the
link between sanitation and public health was discovered, which provided the impetus for modern water and sewage systems.
Cholera is caused by swallowing water, food or any other material contaminated by the feces of a cholera victim. Casual contact
with an infected bathroom, clothing, or bedding might be all that is required. The disease is amazingly rapid-acting. Extreme
diarrhea, sharp muscular cramps, vomiting and fever, and then death, can occur within 12-48 hours of infection.
In the 19th century cholera became the world's first truly global disease in a series of epidemics. Eventually these epidemics led
to a better understanding of the causes of the disease, followed by improvements in sanitation and plumbing.
Man has a long history of battling epidemic or plague-like diseases. The treatments have advanced from hoping that a disease
will cure itself (most of the time it never did) to administering modern preventive measures, medications and treatments.
Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton
In 1514, a Polish priest named Nicholas Copernicus suggested that the earth revolved around the sun. Copernicus feared what
he would face mistreatment if he made a statement that went against popular opinion of the day, so he circulated his statement
anonymously. A legend about Copernicus says that a book he wrote about the sun-centered universe was placed in his hands a
few days after he lost consciousness from a stroke. He awoke to see that his work had been published, then died peacefully. We
don't know if that story is true, but it shows how fearful people at that time were of challenging long held beliefs, even if they
Galileo proved Copernicus right in 1609 when he observed the heavens with a telescope, which had just been invented.
Galileo observed that Jupiter had several moons orbiting around it. This proved that not every heavenly body had to revolve
around the earth.
Scientists understood the world was round, but Isaac Newton explained why people did not fall off the earth. Newton realized
that everything in the universe was attracted to everything else, and that the greater and closer the object, the greater its
gravitational pull. We call this force gravity, a term that comes from a Latin word meaning heaviness. The earth is very large, so
people and objects are attracted to it. The earth had just enough attraction to the sun to keep it in orbit.
The Scientific Method
We can break up the scientific method into the following steps. If you apply some thought, you may come to find that there are
many facets of life which fall into the category of "scientific".
Observation: Observation may be the key process in Astronomy. For most of the experiments astronomers perform, they may
only look (observe). They don't have the luxury of utilizing any of the other senses. On the other hand, any experiment observed
by one astronomer, anywhere in the world, can be observed by another astronomer with similar equipment. Observation is not
unique to Astronomy. It’s the keystone in all sciences, from Anatomy to Zoology.
Hypotheses: After we have observed an object or event, we ask ourselves, "What is it?" or "What's going on?" The hypothesis
tries to answer that question. It strives to explain the observation. Once a hypothesis is formed, the scientist must be open to other
possibilities in case the first hypothesis proves incorrect. Above all, an hypothesis must be contradictable. If it is not possible to
contradict the hypothesis, it isn't science.
Prediction: Once the hypothesis is formed, it must be able to predict events or observations at a later time.
Testing: Once the prediction is established, the scientist conducts an experiment to test the validity of the prediction, and
therefore the hypothesis.
One point above deserves emphasis again, the hypothesis must be contradictable to be considered science. This key statement
differentiates science from non-science. I can make a hypothesis that the sun orbits the Earth. There are many predictions which
would support the theory. Daily observations of the sun would indicate that my hypothesis is correct. However, some
measurements will contradict the statement (the motions of other planets for example). So the hypothesis is scientific, but false.
On the other hand, if I say the sun is pulled through the universe by a charioteer (call him Helios) that we cannot see, I cannot
disprove the statement. Therefore, it does not satisfy the requirements of science.
D'Holbach, Paul [1723 - 1789] He believed that religion was not necessary to live a moral life. he taught that everything in
the universe was made up of matter and motion.
Diderot, Denis [1713 - 1784] He condemned the church as unreasonable. Wrote the Encyclopedia, which he called the
"great work of his life".
Hobbes,Thomas [1588 - 1679] Believed that if people were left alone without government then there would be a constant
fighting among them. Believed that the best government was one where the ruler had absolute power. Hobbes was a supporter
of absolute monarchs.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques [1712 - 1788] Believed that "We should return to nature", nature is good and man is by nature
good. It is society that corrupts people.
Kant, Immanuel [1724 - 1804] Believed in the right to express religious opinions
Locke, John [1632 - 1704] An English philosopher who believed people had the natural rights to life, liberty and
property. He had great influence on the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of the Rights of
Man, and the French Revolution. He believed that if the government did not provide for natural rights then the people had the
right to revolt.
Montesquieu, Baron de [1689 - 1755] Believed in the system of checks and balances in government that way no one
branch could dominate over another. Believed in Separation of Powers. He later influenced the authors of the Constitution of the
Paine, Thomas [1737 - 1809] Author of Common Sense, Crisis, Rights of Man and The Age of Reason; He claimed that
hereditary rule produced incompetent and unjust rulers.
Smith, Adam [1723 - 1790] Scottish economist who wrote The Wealth of Nations; Believed in the practice of laissez-faire.
Voltaire [1694 - 1778] Believed that the common people were unable to rule themselves and that the best form of government
was an enlightened monarch who respected the people's rights and who was familiar with the teachings of the philosophers of
The English constitution has, in fact, arrived at that point of excellence, in consequence of which all men are restored to those
natural rights, which, in nearly all monarchies, they are deprived of. These rights are, entire liberty of person and property;
freedom of press; the right of being tried in all criminal cases by a jury of independent men - the right of being tried only
according to the strict letter of the law; and the right of every man to profess, unmolested, what religion he chooses, while he
renounces offices, which the members of the Anglican or established church alone can hold. These are denominated privileges . .
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary: The English Model
. . . . public can only arrive at enlightenment slowly. Through revolution, the abandonment of personal despotism maybe
engendered and the end of profit - seeking and domineering oppression may occur, but never a true reform of the state of mind.
Instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones, will serve as the guiding reins of greater, unthinking mass . . . .
Immanuel Kant, What is the Enlightenment?
. . . . Such revolutions happen not upon every little mismanagement in public affairs. Great mistakes in the ruling part, many
wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty, will be borne by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if
long train abuses, prevarications and artifices, all tending the, same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot
but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going; it is not to be wondered at, that they should then rouse themselves,
and endeavor to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was first erected . . . .
John Locke, Second Treatise on Government, 1690
. . . . But the body politic, or sovereign power, which derives its existence from the sacredness of the contract, can never bind
itself, even towards others, in any thing that would derogate from the original act; such as alienating any portion of itself, or
submitting to another sovereign: for by violating the contract its own existence would be at once annihilated; and by nothing
nothing can be performed. As soon as the multitude is thus united in one body, you cannot offend one of its members without
attacking the whole; much less can you offend the whole without incurring the resentment of all members. Thus duty and interest
equally oblige the two contracting parties to lend their mutual aid to each other; and the same men must endeavor to unite under
this double character all the advantages which attend it.
Rousseau, Of the Social Compact
However, it is not answered because each wishes to answer it in his own way. Subjects vaunt public tranquility; citizens,
individual liberty; one prefers the safety of property, and the other that of the person; one thinks that the best government is the
most severe, the other maintains that it is the most gentle; that one wishes that crimes be punished, and that one that they be
prevented; one finds it delightful to be feared by his neighbors, another prefers to be unknown to them; one is content when
money circulates, another requires that the people have bread. Even where an agreement reached upon these and similar points,
would and advance be made? Moral qualities lacking exact measurements- if an agreement were reached as to the sign, how
could it be reached as to the estimate to be put upon them?
Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762
There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in
any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the "end of time," or of commanding
forever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the
makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves
null and void. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it.
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791
The dead man is ancient France, and that bier, the coffin of the ancient monarchy. Therein let us bury, and forever, the dreams in
which we once fondly trusted; paternal royalty, the government of grace, the clemency of the monarch, and the charity of the
priest; filial confidence; implicit belief in the gods here below. . . . . They have made justice a negative thing, which forbids,
prohibits, excludes-an obstacle to impede, and a knife to slaughter
Jules Michelet,The Influence of the Enlightenment in the French Revolution
. . . . What is tolerance? . . . We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon our follies. This is the last law of
nature. . . .
It is clear that every private individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. . . .
Voltaire, A Plea for Tolerance and Reason
1. Men are born, and always continue, free, and equal in respect of their rights. Civil distinctions, therefore, can be founded only
on public utility.
2. The end of all political associations, is, the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are
liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression.
3. The nation is essentially the source of all sovereignty; nor can any INDIVIDUAL or ANY BODY OR MEN, be entitled to
authority which is not expressly derived from it.
5. The law ought to prohibit only actions hurtful to society. What is to prohibited by the law, should not be hindered; nor should
any one be compelled to that which the law does not require.
7. Now man should be accused, arrested, or held in confinement, except in cases determined by the law, and according to the
forms which it has prescribed.
10. No man ought to be molested on account of his opinions, not even on account of his religious opinions
13. A common contribution being necessary for the support of the public force, and for defraying the other expenses of
government, it ought to be divided equally among the members of the community, according to their abilities.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens