As history tells the tale, the old regime fell quickly, and before you knew it there was a new ruler and a renewal of the horrible status quo. Girls were sequestered, consigned to domestic chores, and were not permitted to attend school, and child marriages were the norm. The state religion was supreme, taught and memorized in schools, with hours of worship and daily scripture reading mandated for all. Heretics were persecuted, modern conveniences were unknown, and people on the whole were unkempt, uncouth, and pretty dirty, and high mortality for disease followed. Head chopping, hand lopping, and being strung up on the nearest bridge was acceptable justice. But the people, bored as they were, were promised suitable entertainment with sex, violence, bawdy humor, and iambic pentameter! Playhouses would be erected across the land so the people could be entertained, and keep an eye on! Life was great, comparatively speaking for the times at least….
But who were these horrible miscreants, and would civilization stand for them?
Evidently, it did.
For these were the Elizabethans!
Bill Shakespeare, Cultural Minister
Returning civilization to the barbarous 16th century, just a few hundred years ago, we would note that in that era we have authoritarian rule, religious orthodoxy, a tolerance for persecution and slavery, and a rather primitive civic and people, and this was the English Renaissance as it were, a relative boon to humanity given that past eras were far worse. All of our renaissances were at root cruel and unjust times, and if viewed from the lens of history, our sensibilities would have all of their literary and physical monuments torn to the ground, with legacies tarnished by our present-day standards of right and wrong. To focus on life’s miseries rather than it’s grandeurs is to diminish our inspiration to the dead hand of facts, and I for one would celebrate an Elizabeth, Drake, and Shakespeare in a different way, while keeping in mind the harsher truths of life and how for flowers to bloom, they need to sprout from common dung.