I. Article Annotations
“The Lost Colony’s Education Pages “. [Online] Available
http://thelostcolony.org/education/Students/History/Elizabethan_England.htm, September 11, 2010
The article talked mostly of how social statuses were during the Elizabethan era and how family life was like during that age. In discussing the social order, each social class was explained, stating how they went about in their lives and what roles in society they played. The article also had a bit about Elizabethan Family Life, of how the people at the time believed that the family was society’s role model. It described basic family rules, like how the wives were regarded by their husbands to be “property”, and how the children were in turn regarded as parents’ “property”.
Best, Michael. “Internet Shakespeare Editions”. [Online] Available
http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/ideas/girls.html, September 11, 2010
The article was focused mostly on the education that the young girls of the Elizabethan era received. It was stated that daughters of Nobles or Puritans had greater chances of getting a formal or private education compared to others; teaching them how to conduct themselves in the household. These girls were often placed in the houses of relatives where they would learn to read and write, keep accounts and even how to practice surgery. Social etiquette was also taught, with skills such as dancing and singing which were both important for women to learn at the time.
“Life in Elizabethan England: A Compendium of Common Knowledge”. [Online] Available
http://elizabethan.org/compendium/54.html, September 11, 2010
The article talks of the exclusivity of education to the males during the Elizabethan Period, and even sites when and what time the school day begins in summer and winter. This was then held in comparison to private teaching, mostly given to the Nobles’ children. There was a difference between Public and Private Education at the time. Public Education did not necessarily mean that it was funded by the government, but was called so more because it was an education received outside of the house. This was given mostly to those of the lower classes.
Voorhies, James. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art”. [Online] Available
http://www.metmuseum.org/TOAH/HD/liza/hd_liza.htm, September 12, 2010
The article focuses mostly on the Elizabethan era under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I and of the different art forms and artists at the time. An example given was portraiture and textiles. Portraiture dominated the painting scene at the time, while elaborate textiles were a favorite in homes of richer folk.
The article also mentions Queen Elizabeth’s different court painters, artists, and including their apprentices, and what sort of contributions they had to the world of Art. They mostly portrayed the ruling classes in their lavish garments and hunting gear, with their decorative embroidery and armor.
“Globe Theatre”. [Online] Available
http://www.globe-theatre.org.uk/elizabethan-theatre.htm, September 12, 2010
The article tells of the history of the Elizabethan theatre, starting from the wandering minstrels and troubadours who would go from town to town to perform. It relates the transformation of these performers, being first regarded as vagabonds to paid actors and actresses who performed in Playhouses and Inn-yards.
The articles all have a common trait to them, never failing to mention the different social classes during the Era. It is evident in the articles that a sort of behavior and etiquette was enforced on the people dependent on their social rank. The first article states the differences of each class’ role, each playing an important part of society. The Monarch was to rule over England and oversee everything in the country, while the Nobles were mostly the Monarch’s assistants, governing over the stretches of land they were assigned to, according to their public office. The Nobles were required to take public office, because they were regarded as more educated and capable. The Noble Class was kept to a minimum, though, because although most were loyal to the throne, they were seen as a threat to the crown. Keeping their numbers small would lessen the possibility of an outbreak.
The Gentry, which included the knights and squires, grew in number and soon became the most important of the social class at the time. The Gentry was responsible for a good number of changes during that time, giving birth to new paths for the English People.
Born after the Wars of Roses, the Merchants are a class mainly engaged In trading. They gained monopoly in their sales, increasing prices of commodities they had control of.
The Yeomans and the Laborers were of the working classes, though the Yeomans were considered as the middle class.They engaged mostly in trade, craft, and farming and used their wealth to buy lands for profit. The Laborers were of the lowest class. This class includes beggars
The distinguishing traits of each class also lead to the discrimination when it came to treatment. In education, as the articles convey, there was a difference in the education of the children of the richer folk compared to those of the lower classes. Education for the lower classes was not encouraged and was held in public schools. Meanwhile, the higher classes had private tutors at home, with a more relaxed schedule and curriculum.
Also, gender differences were very much alive during that period, as seen in the first three articles. The first article, as it talked of family, states how there is such a thing as superiority in the household, with the Husband/ Father being the head of the house. The wife was regarded as a property, and was expected to do as her duties imply which were mostly to serve the husband and work at home. The children were also the parents’ property, needing to do as told, and being obedient to their parents. Also, in the second article, we see that women or young girls did not get the same educational rights as young boys at the time. While the boys were out to learn grammar, the girls stayed in to learn how to cook and clean.
Even in art, social classes are emphasized.
An artist would know if he had hit big time if he were a court painter or commissioned by the throne to do a literary piece, song or art piece. This stresses the importance of their acknowledgement by a higher class authority, which at the time was The Monarch. Otherwise, commissions by Nobles were also good. Without these, an artist would go unnoticed.
III. Reflective Essay
I found great interest in the articles, tying them up together to see a common ground. I was conscious before of the social order in England, but I had not known that it deeply penetrated into all of the Elizabethan society’s workings.
I found it amusing, how public schools back then were actually not subsidized by the government, and that homeschooling was a privilege. Homeschooling, I used to think, was for those who were too snooty to have their children mix with other lower class ones, but I never imagined it to be a privilege- more as a choice than anything else. This makes me think: what social class would I be in had I been born in the Elizabethan times? If I had been a man, would I have had a private tutor, or gone to a public school? Or maybe I would not even have received any education at all- except maybe to talk, read and write a little.
If I were to choose, I would have liked to have gone to a public school. I’m not much of the type who likes to stay at home and read books and memorize things that I thought were irrelevant. At least in public schools, I would have regular human contact, as compared to being tutored privately. I would learn the ways of the streets and how to live after school would be done.
Other than this, I realized that although art, literature and architecture flourished at this time, I saw the dictation of the upper classes over art. Being an artist was one thing, being fed was another. To be recognized, one had to have a sponsor of sorts, a regular commissioner, who would endorse and talk of one’s’ works. It was important that the regular commissioner be a man of high social status, so that he would seem credible to the even higher ranks. For this, one had to be really good, to create very invoking art. This is where the spirit, skill and creativity of an artist come in. An artist’s ability to write, paint and play music to impress is very important. Unless it was something extraordinary, it probably would not be given attention.
It is incredible to note how social classes can govern a whole society’s workings without them even knowing.