domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2011

The influence of The Elizabethan Era

The influence of Elizabethan era in exploration and literature
Queen Elizabeth reign was one of the most important that Britain has ever had. She was the last in the Tudor’s line of powerful reign, she was known as the Virgin Queen. Elizabethan Era took place in Britain from 1558 to 1603. Among these years, Britain had a lot of influence all over the world: they started explorations, there was a great development of arts such as painting music and topcoat literature, the first famous theatre appeared, there were a lot of medical advances, mostly in human anatomy and dissection and surgical operations. Some of the inventions of the period were graphite pencil because they used to write with feathers and ink and it was complicated because they could not erase any error and sometimes the ink left stains on the paper and hands; the wind powered sawmill which was used later in some of the British colonies in America for making sugar; and the thermoscope that was invented by Galileo Galilei. This was one of the most important eras for Britain and the world. Elizabeth's death in 1603 signified not only the end of the Tudor line of rulers, but a grand era of English history.
During Queen Elizabeth reign the most important British explorations were done. At the beginning English explorations were under the supervision of Portugal and Spain. At this time, the colonization of North America took place, but it was not the first one. Before this could happen, there was Sir Francis Drake, who was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician from that era and was the one who carried out the second circumnavigation of the world. He had spent almost three years spanning approximately 36,000 miles across the globe. He was considered a hero in England but a pirate in Spain because he was second in command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada, “El Draque” he was known by this name in Spain, and the name comes after the pronunciation in Spanish for Drake. He died of a strange disease in January of 1596 after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico. Afterwards the colonization of North America came under Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Additionally, under Elizabeth's leadership, neighboring countries of Spain and France experienced the effects of British power. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 marked a climax of England's political power. In 1599, England chartered the East India Company, and became a contender in international trade.
Elizabethan era exploration is put equivalent to curiosity, English renaissance, and, voyages of discovery. All distant land opportunities were explored and harnessed to wealth, fame, and, power. The main motive behind the explorations in the Elizabethan era was to open profitable trading routes. Elizabethan era, therefore, was the golden age of exploration.

Elizabethan age of exploration was first dominated by the Portuguese and the Spanish, but, after the great historic voyage by Sir Francis Drake, the dominance of English men increased. There was an emergence of brave and skilful English seamen who brought gold, silver, spices and many other valuable things back home. Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Richard Grenvile, and, Sir Martin Frobisher were the other famous English explorers of Elizabethan era. 

The commercial motives behind the explorations were many. Eastern spices like cinnamon, pepper, clove, nutmeg, and, ginger were in demand in England, especially in those days. Even precious stones, drugs, perfumes, gums, dyes, and, various woods came from east. 

The major aid to the explorations made by the English men in those days was majorly because of the progress made in the art of ocean navigation. The compass helped the explorers greatly in their voyages. Astrolabe was another instrument used for navigation purposes. It helped to calculate the latitudes. Other instruments were; telescope, charts and maps, cross-staffs, quadrants, and, hour glass. 

Maybe the most relevant part of the Elizabethan era was the development that literature had in this time. English writers were very influences by Italian sonnets and they began introducing complicated poetic structures in both verse and prose. At the time literature was more focused to theatre more than books, everything that was written was performed on stage. There were different forms of literature such as comedies, satires, tragedies, and romances. As a result, theater became a national pastime across social classes in England. This is how Elizabethan theatre was born. The period was from 1558 to 1625, it endured even after Elizabeth’s death. This period is associated to le figures of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.
In its origins, the theatre in England was a very popular spectacle, associated to other entertaining activities of the time such as bear baiting which was a fight between a chained bear against mad dogs. Later, the most known noble men sponsored groups of actors that were named after them, like this companies as The Hudson Men (later Lord Chamberlain’s Men), The Admiral’s Men y The Queen’s Men appeared. The plays took place, in first instance, in the inside of houses yards, nevertheless, this was not appropriated for the performances, and this was the reason that led the construction of fixed theatres, which were more salubrious. They were built in the outskirts. The construction of theatres helped the development of the consolidation and professionalization of the actor’s career. The very first theatre was denominated just as THE THEATRE, it was built up in 1576.
One of the most important characteristics of Elizabethan theatre was the multitude of level at which their plots revolve. Tragic, comedy, poetic, earthly, supernatural, realistic and fantasy are mixed in higher or lower level in the plays. There are fast transitions between melancholy and action, and frequently are manifested in fights on stage that had to make up a choreography. Has to be said that in the Elizabethan theatre no women could participate in any play, that mean there were any actresses, only actors. Even so, writers included women in the plays and actor had to dress up as women and act like them.
The sonnets and plays of William Shakespeare became exceptionally popular in England and eventually across Europe. Shakespeare's plays abounded in different forms such as comedies, satires, tragedies, and romances, and included "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Macbeth," "Julius Caesar," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream”.
This is the time period in which he produced his most popular works. Likewise, the art in general during this time period took huge strides from its previous years.

William Shakespeare was as much of a celebrity as he would be if he were living today where his name is recognizable in almost every household. His plays were primarily drama which was a change from previous plays in former eras of England.
In former eras you would have typically found plays and literature that was dominated by religious influence. William Shakespeare generally found his way away from that and often focused on highly controversial topics of the time. For example, he would often focus on the struggle for power during that time. People of the Elizabethan era loved it.

The literature during Elizabethan times was not only loved and appreciated by the upper class. In fact, the lower class equally appreciated William Shakespeare's literature and drama plays. Both classes alike would pile their ways into amphitheaters just to see them.

In addition to Shakespeare, playwrights Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson flourished during this era. Marlowe was known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own untimely death. Jonson was a dramatist, poet and actor, best known for his plays "Volpone" and "The Alchemist," his lyrics, his influence on Jacobean and Caroline poets, his theory of humours, his contentious personality, and his friendship and rivalry with Shakespeare. Also there are some people who say that Shakespeare never existed and the one who wrote all his works was his Spanish contemporary Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Curiously, both writers died in 1616.
If you look at the former plays and literature prior to the Elizabethan era you will notice that they were heavily religiously influenced. In fact, almost all of them had something to do with morality or mystery. I personally think it was the uniqueness of stories like Macbeth in comparison to former works that made William Shakespeare as popular as he was and still is.

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