By Young-Won Park
Journal of humanities and social science, Vol.2 (1999)
Introduction: The Elizabethan Era was a particularly ripe period in terms of political, social, and literary aspects of English history. It marked a transition from the older medieval ideas to the new ideals of a changing world. Still in the minds of the people was the War of the Roses which in its ending marked the ascendency of the Tudor reign. Religion was a majour issue in this reign. The spiritually minded English saw the rise of Protestantism and the break with the Pope in Rome. Along with the change in religion, there was a change in how people viewed the earth, as their small medieval world was enlarged with each succeeding discovery. The consequence of progress was a gradual transition from a public, open, and social to a more individualistic and private existence, which led to an inner privacy of the relationship between man and woman in marriage. All these changes in the Renaissance were reflected in literature of the period. Drama, the representative literary form of the Elizabethan Age, tended to depict a world of private life, different from a world of heroes in the preceding eras.