The Daily Life of an Elizabethan Woman
Every decade brings new rights and opportunities for women. Specifically, in the Elizabethan era between 1558 and 1603, women were given little freedom due to the common idea that they were weak and needed a man to care for them (Thomas). Imagine you are an Elizabethan woman in 1560; you are in an arranged marriage with two children, a boy and a girl. Your daughter is growing up to become a mother and devoted wife just as you did while your son attends school to become anything he desires whether it be a doctor or even a lawyer. As time grew on, society discovered the true potential of women, and today, women play a large role in politics and in everyday life, but they still carry the stereotypical role as homemaker and mother. Elizabethan England was a male dominated society ruled by a powerful woman, Queen Elizabeth I. She made powerful decisions, such as establishing the English Protestant Church, while most other women made little to no decisions in their life. Besides being a mother and wife, English drama and poetry was an outlet for their restrained social life. Women had a strenuous everyday life due to their few rights, arranged marriages, and inferiority in politics, education, and their occupation.
From the beginning of this era, men had access to greater rights and opportunities than women. It became normal that women were not allowed vote or inherit their father’s title, as the next man in the family would whether it be his son, or brother. They were also not allowed to act in theatre, enter the professions, or receive an education (Thomas). Society felt that women were weak and couldn’t handle the tasks of a man. Due to this, women had to obey all male relatives whether it was their husband or not because they were the authority while women were the caretakers (Benson and Stock 189). In the book, A Traveller’s History of England, Elizabeth I Tudor said, “I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too” (Daniell 109). This was said by Elizabeth I Tudor. She believed that although women appeared to be delicate and inadequate, they could have the attitude of a strong man and the ability to be just as powerful as they could be. All women were frail in the eyes of men, but truly, they had the potential to be forceful. Women’s lack of rights did not stop them from making an impact. One of the most graceful women of England’s Elizabethan era was the Queen herself. She made decisions like a leader, but also never let men dominate society.
Along with not having similar rights as men, women were organized into arranged marriages. This diminished the ability to wed the man of your choice. Depending on how high or low a woman or man was in the social structure determined who they would marry, or if they would have an arranged marriage at all. It was assumed that a woman would marry, or she would become a nun. If she did...