• Laurie Swigart


Author Unknown

Life in Elizabethan England could be cruel and hard. The poor often went hungry, disease was widespread, medical remedies often felt more like tortures, and many women died in childbirth. But through their beliefs, people found ways of making sense of their existence.

People in Elizabethan England were, in general, much more religious than people today. Almost everyone believed in God, and expected to go to heaven or hell after death. In HAMLET, Hamlet won't kill his stepfather, Claudius, while Claudius is praying because he doesn't want him to go to heaven.

At this time, England was a Protestant country -- it had broken away from the Catholic Church of Rome. This was part of the European movement called the Reformation, which had started with attacks on corruption in the Catholic Church and led to the founding of

non-Catholic, or Protestant, churches.

As many wars were fought in the name of religion, all English Catholics were seen as potential traitors to their country and were forbidden to hold any public office.

Some Protestants, called Puritans, felt the Church in England hadn't gone far enough in its rejection of Catholicism. They wanted to "purify" the Church of its remaining Catholic elements, such as bishops and ceremonial robes. Puritans also had strict ideas about what was sinful, or could lead to sin: fine clothes, drinking, gambling, and going to see plays were all thought to pave the way to hell.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Author Unknown From 1599 onward, Shakespeare's plays were usually performed at the Globe, a huge, open-air circular theatre in Southwark in London. The theatre could hold 3000 people, and there were t


Author Unknown The Chain of Being was a concept the Elizabethans inherited from the Middle Ages. It was an attempt to give order (or "degree" as Elizabethans often called it) to the vastness of creati


Author Unknown William Shakespeare (1564-1616) I. Born in Stratford upon Avon in England A. Attended grammar school (much harder than today, similar to high school II. Married Anne Hathaway A. She was

Contact the Director

Laurie Swigart ~ Director, Designer, & Webmaster ~ laurie@dreamcoat.org715-781-5760

Copyright (c) 1997-2021 Theatre on a Shoestring. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER: THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING is not responsible for information, images, or links on related sites. All pages that contain links to other sites do so to assist visitors in finding useful and related material. We are not responsible for other sites' content or links.


DISCLAIMER: THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING did not willfully use any copyrighted material for the publication of this website. We apologize for any oversight in the acknowledgement of the copyright of the respective object. The copyright for any material created by THEATRE ON A SHOESTRING is reserved.