The Role Of Courtship And Marriage In Elizabethan England

1478 WordsDec 15, 20176 Pages
When we look back upon the lives of the men and women living in Elizabethan England their traditions of love and marriage, at first glance, seems so far removed from what we know today. Their antiquated views on the roles men and women play in everyday life further alienate their culture surrounding courtships and marriages. In retrospect, from the views of today’s culture with its emphasis on true love and passion, the customs and traditions of Elizabethan England seem harsh and calculated. The complex rules and subtle nuances seem worlds away from what marriage has evolved to today. Upon closer inspection you might find there are some aspects about courtship and marriage in 16th and 17th century England that don’t differ so strongly…show more content…
If a woman didn’t marry she would remain in the care of a male relative. It was also important for men to get married because in this time period the people of England were always fighting diseases and plagues that ravished their country. Unsanitary condition and poor knowledge of medicine meant a village could be wiped out in a matter of weeks. Underpopulation weakened England economically and defensively. It was frowned upon if a man decided to stay a bachelor because he was squandering the opportunity to start a family and have children to help repopulate England. To some marriage was necessary “be the lawful son of God [and] possess and enjoy the earth and deserve heaven” (Carlson 23). Marriage in Elizabethan times also represented a kind of “coming of age” and, as Carlson states, “preparation for adulthood was preparation for marriage”. A person wasn’t really considered a full-fledged adult until they had settled down and gotten married. This period after childhood and before full-blown adulthood, known to us now as adolescence, was known to the Elizabethans to be a time of developments both physically and sexually. Within this time period activities such as courtship would take place, and this phase in one’s life would end with marriage, signifying adulthood While the boundaries of adolescence is more unclear in Elizabethan times, it often would last until a person’s late twenties
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