What Are The Role Of Women During The Elizabethan Era

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The Elizabethan Era is said to have been one of the most interesting periods in the History of England. The Era being named after Queen Elizabeth the I, also called the Virgin Queen is not only famous for its monarchy and explorers but it was also the era of the appearance of the very first theatres in England ( Alchin,1). The Elizabethan theatre was a booming business for England, and the people loved it. However, there was one thing that the theatre was missing, women. Queen Elizabeth the I saw to the prohibition of female actresses on stage. Being an actress was not considered a reliable profession and it was immoral, therefore young boys played the roles of women ( Alchin, 1). Court Masques were a special form of entertainment
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It was very clear back then what expectations were desired of men and women. Men’ role in society was going of to work to provide for their families, whilst the role of women in society was to learn to keep quiet and to maintain a good household. By law there were certain jobs that women were prohibited to work in, some of these include medicine, law and politics. It would all depend on one's social class what sort of an education one would receive. Elizabethan women from wealthy and noble families would sometimes be privileged by having a minor education, whilst the lower class Elizabethan women would receive none of any kind, instead they were taught household duties (Sharnette, 2). In Elizabethan history, women who were not married were considered threats to society as they were seen upon as witches. There are many cases of women being persecuted and hunted as witches then burnt to the stake for their presumed crimes. Women in that era were taught to know their place as inferior to men. By law and with acceptance from the parents girls from the age of only 12 were allowed to get married (Lin, 1). The church that played a massive role in society and everyday life expressed that; “ Women in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey men”(John Knox). In Elizabethan society men were completely dominant over women and there was no say in the matter. Family fortunes would be passed on from male hair to the next male hair even if the women were older and seemed entitled to it. The only exception of this rule was the monarchy (Sharnette,2). Therefore there was no chance in thinking that women could freely decide to take up a career on stage as a talented actress, women were put in their place and were made to stay
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