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How did the Renaissance affect ideas about women? Did it affect them enough?

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History Essay Three Queens Question How did the Renaissance affect ideas about women? Did it affect them enough? The question is referring to the English Renaissance of the 16th and 17th century. The time from the early 16th century to the early 17th century is generally known as the 'Elizabethan era'. This is due to the fact that it is the era associated with the reign of Elizabeth 1 who reigned from the years of 1558-1603. The Elizabethan era is seen as one of the most fascinating eras in the history of England. It was an age which seen the English Renaissance which brought an enormous cultural change to Tudor society heralding new standards in education and new values in literature. It was Elizabeth's political and religious ideas that had an effect on Tudor society. The Elizabethan era was seen as a 'golden age' in English history for women and also Elizabeth's presence at the throne was an inspiration to many poets and authors of her generation. For example, it was the era of William Shakespeare and he developed the first theatre in England called the Globe theatre. There were also several other notable Elizabethans. These include English Privateer Sir Francis Drake and also English adventurer Humphrey Gilbert. The Elizabethan era proved to be an age which was famous for its internal peace between the reformations in England and also a time where the protestant reformation was established which defended successfully against the catholic powers of the continent. ...read more.


"The philosopher John Locke, pioneer of the Enlightenment, opposed the tyranny of husbands as much as that of kings; but within a marriage, woman was to cede authority to her husband, because he was by nature, "abler and stronger.""6 There were however women of the time who were not married. These women only had one option in order to survive. They had to take part in domestic service. Women were not allowed to work in the upper professions so domestic service was the only option in order to get an income. Domestic service would include jobs like cooking or being a maid for example. Marriage appealed to all women from the lower class due to the fact that the husband's role was to provide for a household. However, the household was not the most protected area for a wife as shown in the source below. "The seventeenth-century Countess of Warwick in England directed the dairy and hen house and checked the annual accounts while the Countess of Flanders, who in 1372 "had two great forges built for her," and supervised the operation of the mines."7 Education was a major issue in the Elizabethan era. The renaissances brought with it new thinking to England. Women from wealthy backgrounds were allowed the privilege of education. The type of education supplied was home education taught by a tutor. However, Elizabethan women were not allowed to go to university. The reason for this being that Queen Elizabeth believed that the women would distract the men from their studies. ...read more.


This was because artists were required to have a certain degree of education in different subjects e.g. knowledge on ancient art. This proved punishing for women due to the fact that vast majority was illiterate and would never have had the teaching to be educated in such a way which allowed her to be a professional artist. Women also faced many prejudice problems from men. There were not really accepted into the world of art during the Renaissance though steps were made towards this with several women's paintings being published. Men thought they were more superior to women. The was due to the fact that society had been brought up to believe this fact, but the renaissance encouraged women into doing whatever they wanted to do. However, because of women artists not being taken seriously it made it extremely difficult for historians to document the contribution of female Renaissance artists due to the face that much of their work was left unsigned because the women would therefore not take her work seriously. 1 Fraser, Antonia, the Weaker Vessel. New York: Alfred Knopf, (1984). 2 Slater, Miriam, Family Life in the Seventeenth Century. London: Routledge, (1984) 3 Texler, Richard. The Foundlings of Florence, 1395-1455. History of Child Quarterly (1973) p98-116 4 Klapisch-Zuber, Christine. "Blood Parents and Milk Parents: Wet Nursing in Florence, 1300-1530. Annales de Demographie Historique (1981), p289-302 5 Ruggiero, Guido. The Boundaries of Eros: Sex, Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice. New York: Oxford University Press, (1985). 6 Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (1988). 7 Mendelson, Sara, Women in English Society, 1500-1800. New York: Methuen, (1985). ...read more.

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