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Social Classes of the Elizabethan Era

Literature Unit 2 project
by

Ethan McNulty

on 7 December 2013

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Transcript of Social Classes of the Elizabethan Era

Social Classes of the Elizabethan Era
In this Prezi, I am going to address:
What social classes of the Elizabethan Era were
How a person's social class is determined
How one changed their social rank
Whether or not there was any significance to marrying someone of a different class
The purpose of social classes in the Elizabethan Era
Social Classes of the Elizabethan Era
Social classes are expressions of status in society, thought to be established by God himself. During the Elizabethan Era, there were six social classes:
Marriage in Social Classes:
In the Elizabethan Era, while it was possible to marry someone in another class, it was generally frowned upon for one to marry another of a lower class and therefore rarely occurred. Usually, citizens stayed in their own social class.
Exceptions to Classes and Marriage:
While one usually never changed classes, it was possible these circumstances:
Monarch:
The Monarch was the ruler of a nation (usually a king or queen), and therefore the highest rank one could have. One was usually born into this class. During the Elizabethan era, Queen Elizabeth I was the monarch.
Nobility:
This was one of the highest social classes, second only to the monarch. the lass included whole families, heads of these families were dukes, earls or barons. the class contained all of the lords and ladies of the monarch's land. To be in this class, one must be born into it or appointed by the monarch. During the Elizabethan Era, there were few noble families (approximately 55 during Shakespeare's lifetime), due to the fact that Queen Elizabeth would not appoint new families to replace the ones that died out, viewing nobles as a threat to her power.
Gentry:
To This class belonged the knights, gentlemen, gentlewomen and squires of the kingdom. People of this class rarely worked with their hands. One of the lower classes achieved this rank by obtaining great amounts of wealth. This class grew greatly in the Elizabethan Era. From this class came Justices of the Peace and members of Parliament.
Merchants:
The merchants were prosperous in the Elizabethan Era. They commonly made their wealth through sales of wool, exotic goods, and other items of commerce. As they gained reputation, they were capable of drastically increasing the prices of the products that they would sell, claiming that it was all for the benefit of the kingdom.
Yoemen:
This class is composed of common citizens, with just enough money to support their families, but any misfortune would potentially cause them to plummet into poverty.
Laborers:
This is the class containing carpenters, peasants, those who do not own land, shoemakers, and other similar positions. These citizens usually did not have enough money to support a family. During the Elizabethan Era, one of the first government sponsored welfare programs were implemented to attempt to aid the laborers.
The monarch could appoint you into nobility
A Laborer could become part of the Gentry by gathering enough wealth and being accepted
One could change social rank through marriage
Banishment by the ruling Monarch or being Disowned by their family
Exceptions to marriage:
On rare occasions, people of different classes might get married for the following reasons:
A noble might marry a famous and rich merchant because their status is almost equal
A parent might force their child to marry someone of a different class for financial security
Review and Reflect:
There were 6 social classes in the Elizabethan Era (Monarch, Nobility, Gentry, Merchants, Yoemanry, and Laborers).
A social class is determined by fame, wealth, skills, and birth.
One can change rank through recognition, increase or decrease in wealth, or marriage.
Marriage into another class was frowned upone in most cases, but was legal and sometimes used to provide financial or social security.
Social Classes were used to tell one's worth and job in society, thought to be predetermined by God.
Relation to Romeo and Juliet:
The Montagues and Capulets were Noble families.
When Romeo was banished, he became a Laborer, due to the crimes he had committed.
Prince Escalus was the monarch of the land.
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CITATIONS:
http://thelostcolony.org/education/elizabethan-era/
http://sites.duke.edu/midsummer/category/background-information/
Congratulations! you have found the Easter Egg! sorry, no prize for you yet.
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