- 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.
- 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%
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
The Arts During Elizabeth I's Reign
There is debate over whether the Elizabethan era was a 'Golden Age' for the arts.
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'.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.