The English Renaissance

  • Created by: cieran32
  • Created on: 10-11-18 00:48

Education under Elizabeth I

Literacy (the ability to read and write) grew in Elizabeth’s long reign.

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  • But the bulk of the population did not go to school and was illiterate.
  • Literacy for males rose from 20% to 30% during Elizabeth I’s reign. Literacy for females stayed at 20%
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Early Schools

  • Children were taught about behaviour and religion at home.
  • Aged six, children then went to Sunday school.
  • Rich children may have learned with the help of a private tutor and poor children would have been trained in housekeeping and basic manual labour.
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petty schools

  • Petty schools taught reading, writing and maths.
  • There was no official curriculum and most schools didn’t have many resources.
  • There were no classes or year groups. Students started aged six, became literate (could read and write) and then left.
  • The schools were often run by wealthy people or local priests.
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grammar schools

  • Grammar schools charged fees unless a boy was especially bright. The curriculum was based on Latin, Greek, literature, history, religion and rhetoric.
  • The best students (male students) went to Cambridge and Oxford (the two universities in England). All studies at Oxbridge were in Latin
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Theatre and Elizabeth I

William Shakespeare was the leading playwright of the Elizabethan age. He produced many new plays each year which were performed at the Globe Theatre in London.

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  • Acting was a male-only profession.
  • Actors such as Richard Burbage were particularly famous and performed roles many times over.
  • Theatre troupes, such as Shakespeare’s Lord Chamberlain’s Men, performed the plays.
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Elizabethan theatres

  • In this era, many of the first permanent theatres were built. Rich and poor attended the same performances for the first time.
  • The rich sat in covered galleries. The poor stood in the pit, often heckling those on stage.
  • The stage was decorated with scenery and the roof, the ‘heavens’, housed ropes and pulleys for dramatic entrances.
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Theatre for all

  • The theatre was popular because it was affordable for all, exciting to watch, and it also served as a social occasion.
  • Many plays carried political messages and hidden critiques of the ruling classes.
  • The Globe was built in the City of Southwark, as the City of London was opposed to the construction of theatres. They were said to encourage crime and create disruption.
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opposition to the theatre

Some opposed the theatre:

  • Puritans believed the theatre distracted people from prayer, or even as sinful.
  • Others believed that large crowds could lead to the spread of disease.
  • Theatres could be dangerous because many members of the audience were drunk and crimes were committed.
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The Arts During Elizabeth I's Reign

There is debate over whether the Elizabethan era was a 'Golden Age' for the arts.

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Elizabeth I and music

  • Under Elizabeth I's patronage, music in England was world-class.
  • Elizabeth I herself was an accomplished musician, particularly on the lute and virginals (an instrument like a keyboard).
  • Elizabeth I commissioned William Byrd to compose music for the Chapel Royal.
    • For example, he wrote the 'Great Service'.
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elizabeth I and art

  • Recently, historians have argued that art in Elizabethan England was not that impressive compared to the continent. Instead, they argue that music was superior.
  • Elizabeth herself was not a keen patron of art and rarely commissioned her own portraits.
  • Most surviving portraits, such as the Rainbow Portrait or Sieve Portraits, were commissioned by courtiers.
  • Portraits were often gifts to the Queen and used to gain favour.
  • Portraits were also used to communicate Elizabeth I's power
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popular music

  • Music was central to the religious experience because of congregational singing.
  • The amount of music in services was very contentious amongst Protestant reformers. For example, some Puritans believed music detracted from the message of God.
    • In 1562, there was an attempt to ban organs. But this failed.
  • The Psalms written by Sternhold and Hopkins were very popular.
  • Historians argue that music was central to religious identity in Elizabethan England
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  • Literature thrived as printing presses spread. Ancient Latin and Greek writers were very popular in the original or translations.
  • Books on History, accounts of voyages of discovery and poetry were all popular. Sidney’s Arcadia and Spenser’s The Faerie Queen were important works.
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the arts at court

  • As Elizabeth I's privy chamber was mostly female, it was more difficult to access her.
  • Historians such as Starkey have argued that this meant it was more important to gain the Queen's attention at court.
  • Often, courtiers would perform poetry, music or give the Queen portraits or miniatures.
  • They hoped this would gain her favour and that she would give them patronage.
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