The Renaissance: A Time of Great Creativity and Change
The word Renaissance is French for “rebirth.” It was first used by a French historian in the 19th century, and then later popularized by another French historian, Jules Michelet, in his 1855 book The History of the French Revolution. The English Renaissance (or simply, the Renaissance) typically dates from the late 15th century until the early 17th century. Many historians consider the Renaissance to have ended in 1603 with the death of Elizabeth I of England, or even in 1616 with the death of Shakespeare. However, others argue that it continued into the Restoration period, ending with the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In any case, there is no doubt that the English Renaissance was a time of great creativity, with major achievements in art, music, literature, and science.During this time there were great advances in learning and culture in England. One of the most important aspects of Renaissance culture was its focus on the individual. This is perhaps best illustrated by the rise of portraiture during this period. In previous centuries, artists had tended to depict religious or mythological subjects rather than real people. But during the Renaissance, wealthy individuals increasingly commissioned portraits for their homes. This helped to create a new appreciation for the individual and for everyday life.
Renaissance is a period in European history marked by a cultural rebirth after the Middle Ages. It began in Italy around the 13th century and spread throughout Europe over the next few hundred years. The term “renaissance” (rinascimento in Italian) literally means “rebirth”—and indeed, many aspects of classical antiquity were reborn during this period after centuries of obscurity. From an artistic standpoint, we see this revival most clearly in painting and sculpture, where artists such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564), and Raphael (1483-1520) restored naturalism and balance to their figures while injecting strong doses of emotion and individuality. These artists set a new standard for technical mastery that would be unmatched until modern times. Other disciplines such as architecture and literature also underwent significant changes during the Renaissance; for instance, Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) introduced classical Roman principles to architecture, while writers such as Petrarch (1304-1374), Boccaccio (1313-75), Machiavelli (1469-1527), and Montaigne (1533-92) significantly expanded vernacular literature
2. The Renaissance period:
2.1 Upper class:
The English upper class consisted of nobles and gentry. The nobility were those who held titles ofpeerage: dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons. The gentry were those who did nothold titles but had a coat of arms proven back to medieval times. Both groups had inheritedwealth and land, which made them very powerful. They also had access to the best educationand political appointments. Members of the upper class usually married other membersof the upper class—sometimes even within the same family! This helped to keep wealthand power concentrated within a small group of people.
2. 2 Common class:
The majority of people in England belonged to the common class. These were peasants,farmers, laborers, and artisans. They worked hard for a living and had very little leisure time.Most could not read or write, and education was not considered necessary for them.
The English upper class looked down upon the commoners, whom they considered to be ignorantand uneducated. This attitude is reflected in much of the literature of the time. Forinstance, in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse and Friar Lawrence are membersof the lower class, while the parents of Romeo and Juliet are from the upper class. In theplay, the Nurse and Friar Lawrence are portrayed as foolish and uneducated, while theparents are shown to be wise and sophisticated.
2. 3 Religion:
The official religion of England during the Renaissance was Christianity, and the head ofthe Church was the Pope in Rome. However, there were many different Christian sects, orgroups, with different beliefs. The two largest were the Catholics and the Protestants.The Catholics believed in the authority of the Pope and the teachings of Catholicism, whilethe Protestants rejected both of these things.
The English Reformation began in 1534 when King Henry VIII (1491-1547) broke away fromthe Catholic Church so that he could divorce his wife. Henry VIII then became head of hisown church, which was called the Church of England (or Anglican Church). This event madeProtestants more powerful in England than Catholics.
2. 4 schools:
During the Renaissance, education became more widely available than it had been inprevious centuries. However, it was still only available to those who could afford it—usuallythe upper class.
There were two types of schools during the Renaissance: grammar schools and universities.Grammar schools were for boys only, and they taught Latin grammar, rhetoric, logic,and other subjects that were considered necessary for a career in law or government.Universities were for both boys and girls, but they were much more expensive thangrammar schools. At universities, students could study a wide range of subjects such asphilosophy, theology, medicine, and law.
3. Romeo and Juliet:
3.1 their marriage:
Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) about two young lovers who are forced to marry each other by their respective families. The play is set in the city of Verona, Italy, during the Renaissance period.
Romeo Montague (son of Lord Montague) falls in love with Juliet Capulet (daughter of Lord Capulet), but their families are enemies, so they must keep their relationship a secret. Romeo gets banished from Verona after he kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt in a duel. Juliet fakes her own death in order to be reunited with Romeo. However, Romeo believes that Juliet is truly dead and kills himself. Juliet then finds Romeo’s corpse beside her and kills herself as well.
3. 2 forced marriage:
The marriage of Romeo and Juliet was forced by their respective families. This was notunusual during the Renaissance period, when marriages were often arranged for politicalor economic reasons. Parents usually had a say in who their children married, and marriagesbetween people of different social classes were not common.
However, the forced nature of Romeo and Juliet’s marriage ultimately leads to their tragicdeaths. If they had been able to marry each other freely, there would have been no need for them to fake Juliet’s death or for Romeo to kill himself.
The Renaissance was a time of great creativity, with major achievements in art, music, literature, and science. It was also a time when many aspects of classical antiquity were reborn. The English Renaissance typically dates from the late 15th century until the early 17th century. This was the period when Romeo and Juliet lived and married. Unfortunately, their marriage was forced by their respective families, which ultimately led to their tragic deaths.