Elizabethan Era

11072 Words Mar 31st, 2011 45 Pages
The Elizabethan Age is the time period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and is often considered to be a golden age in English history. It was an age considered to be the height of the English Renaissance, and saw the full flowering of English literature and English poetry. In Elizabethan theater, William Shakespeare, among others, composed and staged plays in a variety of settings that broke away from England's past style of plays. It was an age of expansion and exploration abroad, while at home the Protestant Reformation was established and successfully defended against the Catholic powers of the Continent.
The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the contrasts with the periods before and after. It was
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There followed several long years of breathless suspense; then in 1588 the Armada sailed and was utterly overwhelmed in one of the most complete disasters of the world's history. Thereupon the released energy of England broke out exultantly into still more impetuous achievement in almost every line of activity. The great literary period is taken by common consent to begin with the publication of Spenser's 'Shepherd's Calendar' in 1579, and to end in some sense at the death of Elizabeth in 1603, though in the drama, at least, it really continues many years longer.
Several general characteristics of Elizabethan literature and writers should be indicated at the outset. 1. The period has the great variety of almost unlimited creative force; it includes works of many kinds in both verse and prose, and ranges in spirit from the loftiest Platonic idealism or the most delightful romance to the level of very repulsive realism. 2. It was mainly dominated, however, by the spirit of romance. 3. It was full also of the spirit of dramatic action, as befitted an age whose restless enterprise was eagerly extending itself to every quarter of the globe. 4. In style it often exhibits

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