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english class 2009

During the era of Elizabethan how was the society?


It was a time of religious ferver, war, and dispute within and between churches: the Catholics vs. the Protestants!  There were beheadings, burning of heretics, and uprisings--all in the name of God!  Most famously, Bloody Mary.  Enotes has this to say:

It was a brief period of largely internal peace between theEnglish Reformation and the battles betweenProtestants and Catholics and the battles betweenparliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism

The society is reminiscent of today's England: a police state.  Spies, double-agents, terrorists, and the secret police were everywhere.  Terrorists like Guy Fawkes (in the Gunpowder Plot) threatenend to blow up Parliament.  So says Enotes:

The Gunpowder Plot was a conspiracy by English Catholics to blow up Parliament, the law-making body of Great Britain, while King James I (1566–1625) and government officials were meeting inside. The conspirators planned their attack for November 5, 1605, the day when the king was scheduled to open the first session of Parliament. They hoped to start a mass uprising among English Catholics (followers of a religion headed by a pope and based in Rome, Italy), who had become increasingly alarmed at laws that limited the practice of their religion. Several men began perfecting the plot in 1604. Over a period of several months they hid thirty-six barrels of gunpowder in a cellar underneath the House of Lords, one of the two Parliament buildings (the other is the House of Commons). The plan then called for them to go into the cellar and set fire to the gunpowder on November 5. According to the plan, at that point a mass rally would erupt throughout England in opposition to the anti-Catholic laws. The conspirators made a serious blunder, however, by admitting so many people to their group that secrecy was impossible.

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