Class And Social Structures During The Medieval Period

993 WordsMay 18, 20164 Pages
Class and social structures changed frequently throughout the medieval period, the renaissance, and the eighteenth century, and this change caused much anxiety in preserving the noble class. During the medieval period, the three classes were challenged by the emergence of the merchant class which rose to the same level as the nobles during the renaissance. Finally, in the eighteenth century, this noble class was pushed out of power and then returned, throwing the class into turmoil. These changes caused anxiety not only within and between the classes, but also within the realm of courtship and gender roles. Although these changes seem unrelated, the intersectionality of class and gender and the anxiety about the rules of courtship appear often in the literature from these time periods and reflect the social changes occurring. In the Medieval period, society was divided between three general classes: those who worked (serfs), those who fought (knights), and those who prayed (friars, monks, etc.). However, the plague that struck England in 1348-50 severely decreased the population and the serfs began to demand more pay before they eventually revolted in 1381. During this social unrest the merchant class, began to form and the three-class structure began to deteriorate. Not only was there a new class, but the knight class was quickly becoming unnecessary and the previous form of courtship with chivalry and courtly love was also becoming obsolete. Literature of the time
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