During Queen Elizabeth 1 reign, the Elizabeth Renaissance became an epoch in the History of Britain. In Britain, the Elizabeth Renaissance inspired the English history by improving on the national pride. This happened because the renaissance enhanced classical ordeals which led to the international expansion as well as triumph over the ever present Spanish foe. In fact it has been reasoned by Rowse (33) that during the Elizabeth Renaissance the Britain managed to ensure economic stability, by improving on the economic growth and expanding its economic activities. Indeed, during this era Britain was more optimistic that any other time in history.
It’s during this golden age that Britain’s literature, poem and music flowered. The Elizabeth Renaissance is most remembered by the emergence of theatres which became its symbol. This is the time that William Shakespeare together with other writers composed poems, literary works and plays that outpaced the Britain’s writing styles. Shakespeare and others managed to change the writing style of the Britain’s past style of theatre. During this time, Britain managed to explore and expands its dealings abroad. Indeed the Elizabeth Renaissance enabled the acceptance of Protestant Reformation through varied plays that were conducted in the theater. Elizabeth era also marked the time that England acted as a separate realm. However, after the renaissance they united with the Scotland.
Elizabeth Renaissance is considered and ranked high amongst the English because of the subsequent periods after the Renaissance. Sometimes also the periods before the Renaissance are considered important and a contribution of the era. Thus this era was truly different with the England of the middle ages. Partly because of the naval triumph over the hated Spanish foes, and due to increased national pride. Additionally, during this period, there was marked peace between the Protestants and English reformation activists. Peace also ensued between the Protestants and the Catholics, thus this period there was more internal peace than in the England of the middle ages. In fact the battle between the monarch and the parliament that was widespread in the 17th century was calmed during the Elizabeth Renaissance. In fact the Elizabeth Religious Settlement is what helped the royal leaders to manage the battle between the Protestants and the Catholics. Additionally, during this period the parliament lacked the strength to challenge the royal absolutism, unlike the England of the middle ages when the parliament was empowered with great powers to challenge her royalty.
As noted by Rowse (70, 91) one of the themes that author talked about in the book is the high culture. Here the author noted the significant improvements in the theatre, music and fine arts. In the theater, Elizabeth noted the rise of great actors and playwrights like the William Shakespeare who together with the many actors and actresses stormed the theater which represented the high life of the time. The comedies and tragedies were some of the topics that rocked the theater, however in the high life; one could hardly go without experiencing historical topics which were common, in accordance to the Renaissance impulse. The increase in music due to the Renaissance impulse rocked the scenes and the high culture demanded the services of the great musicians (Saldantha, para. 30). Particularly, the change in culture and drive towards high style life increased the demand of the travelling musicians who were demanded in the courts, local festivals, and country houses and in the churches. This was a rock, or impulse as was referred to by the author in chapter 1. In fact during this time the author noted the change in the music style which prompted increase and popularity of music. The major styles that were adopted include the Ayres and the Madrigal. Thus this culture in the Elizabeth era showed and was marked with increased interests in music, particularly folk songs and the ballads. In fact in the 19th century it became a fashion for musicians and lovers of song to collect and sing the old songs. Additionally, due to the high culture, there was fine arts impulse. Unlike Italy, fine arts in England came late thus during this time most of the arts were imported. In addition, foreign talent romped England but the impulse led to the establishment of a school for painting. People managed to appreciate the fine arts and contributions of the art into their culture and the fine arts knowledge became widespread (Parker, 283).
According to Doran (261) the impulse in technology was also noted during this era. This is the time that great scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and other royal scientists emerged. Thus during this era there was a magnificent scientist progress. Also there was contribution into the field of astronomy all of which contributed to the impulse that the author described in the first chapter. There was also marked progress in the field of magnetism, practical skills of navigation. Thus during this age there was more of technological progress than innovation, and the spring suspension coach replaced the litters and carts which had earlier dominated the transportation system.
The author is very right because most of the progress in terms of culture change and science, technology and exploration really bloomed during the Elizabeth Renaissance. Most of the technological progress like the invention and development of the suspension coaches emerged in this era. This changed the transportation mode which was always done through carts and litters. The queen established more comfort with the new transportation system and the society later changed from low life to high life. However, the most withstanding changes were noted in the culture. Due to the emergence of high life, with increased wealth due to improvement in economy, many people were able to afford the life demands. The churches economic power increased and they managed to improve the church services by welcoming the travelling musicians. This implies that there was marked improvement in the ways of living, from traditional based methods to foreign songs and styles. Local festivals were not left behind either. They invited the traveling musicians who improved the occasions, and they became more attractive and more popular than before. Moreover, the culture change that led to the fine arts and increased in knowledge of the same led to increase use of paintings, portraits and even jewelry (Andrew, 76). The culture moved from low culture to high culture and women jewelry use became very common. These wouldn’t have happened if there were no increased knowledge and understanding of fine arts. Ultimately during the Renaissance era, there was popular culture that was marked with improve participation in sports, more entertaining games were performed and people became generally participative. Sports and entertainments increased and more festivals were noted, partly these emerged due to increased peace and partly due to growth in economy.
Andrews, Kenneth. “Trade, Plunder and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630”. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984, pp. 76.
Doran, Susan "Juno versus Diana: The Treatment of Elizabeth I's Marriage in Plays and Entertainments, 1561-1581," Historical Journal. 38 (1995): 257-74. Web 7/12/12
Parker, Geofrey. "The 'Dreadnought' Revolution of Tudor England," Mariner's Mirror, Aug 1996, Vol. 82 Issue 3, pp 269-300
Rowse, Leslie. A. “The Elizabeth Renaissance: the Life of the Society”. London: Penguin Publishers. 2000, pp. 21-312. Web 7/12/12
Saldantha, Raul. “Review of the Elizabeth Renaissance: the Life of the Society”. Common Place Books. 2009.