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Marriage and Sexuality in Elizabethan England

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Fabian Pineda

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of Marriage and Sexuality in Elizabethan England

Within and throughout the Elizabethan Era there was all sorts of laws and social stigmas that influenced who one could marry to which sex one could copulate with. The following slides will elaborate on the ideas of courtship throughout the Elizabethan Era and what beliefs justified such actions. Also included in the presentation is information regarding homosexuality and the consequences of loving the same sex.
Thesis Statement
Women in Marriage
According to Heather Thomas of elizabethi.org, women during the Elizabethan Era had a specific role within their marriage. Once married, the wife would bring a dowry (an amount of money or goods for the husband) into the marriage; it was considered giving their portion in the marriage. Married Elizabethan women were expected to run the house and provide children. Laws gave husbands full rights over their wives, women were, simply put, property.
Homosexuality
According to Michael C. Sherrin, homosexuality in Elizabethan England was not common but also not unheard of. There would often be underlying in Shakespeare's plays, but only for the purpose of entertainment. Actual homosexuality was frowned upon and considered a crime against humanity. The actual word homosexuality had not even been coined until 1868 by K.M. Kertbeny. No records exist regarding homosexuality during the Elizabethan Era; however, it is very possible that homosexuals exist. Boys were often kept in all-male schools from birth to the point of marriage (18-21).
Arranged Marriage
The Elizabethan Era was a time period where it was not rare for marriages to be arranged. According to Linda Alchin of elizabethan-era.org, girls were told who to marry from as young as the age of 12. The earliest age that marriage was allowed was 12 for females and 14 for males; they often had no choice in the matter. Arranged marriage was often with the intention of benefiting both families. The married couple would often meet for the first time on the day of.
Fabian Pineda
Marriage and Sexuality in Elizabethan England
Conclusion
All of what has occurred within and throughout time has lead to this point. Certain practices have withstood the test of time and are still very much in use today; however, this is not the case with Elizabethan construct. This era's beliefs and ideologies were molded into what they were over the course of centuries, and as centuries pass, ideas will further develop and evolve. Marriage and sexuality during the Elizabethan Era was a reflection of popular opinion that was predominant throughout the time period. Today, it functions as an excellent source of both knowledge and wisdom in regards to these topics.
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