Culture and Society in Elizabethan England
Over the years, society has created and recreated different ideas of what is considered socially acceptable and what customs to follow on a daily basis. These ideas are constantly changing and renewing themselves, making even last year’s behavioral habits seem crude. For instance, life in Elizabethan England contrasted with how life is now because people acted differently, dressed differently, spoke differently, and in a general, broader sense, they lived differently. Because people grow and change and learn from their previous mistakes, Elizabethan customs are practically obsolete due to their lack of effectiveness or rather the lack of need for them to continue.
Although it may be difficult to distinguish between the wealthy and the financially unstable in current times due to equal privileges, in Elizabethan times, the two halves lived very differently. In Elizabethan standards, there were three different kinds of poor: the underprivileged kind, which was reserved for orphans and things of that like, the handicapped poor, and the extravagant spenders who had long ago depleted their savings. The un-resourceful poor were not offered any help or pitied by others. A large majority of the poor people resided in the countryside and provided for themselves and their families through coal mining, brick making, fishing, or raising crops and livestock (Evans 1-10). Wealthy people rarely had jobs or if they did, they worked at the court or another clean, sedentary job. The wealthy earned their riches from hardworking ancestors or being close to royalty so they did not have to continue to labor away to pave the road for new generations (www.elizabethan-era.org.uk). Homes were not only designed for defense, but their composition also reflected the wealth of the owners. The poor and middle class built their homes out of a sturdy wooden frame, stuffed with wickerwork and plaster topped with a thatched roof with a hole for smoke to escape while wealthy people used chimneys for ventilation purposes. Thatched roofing mixed with wood, wicker, and plaster made for an easy fire hazard and was even more dangerous mixed with the wood the furniture was made with at the time. By law, every man was required to work on the roads on designated days but not much effort was put into it so the road conditions were terrible, making travel difficult. The wealthy citizens traveled in horse drawn carriages which were often uncomfortable especially with the rough terrain but they traveled slowly as they were rarely in a need to rush. The lower class and the poor walked the distance and it often too days but unlike the wealthy, this journey was not intentional (Tudor Life). In modern day society, homes and roads are safer and the poor or even those who claim to be poor are offered a helping hand and pity from the government. It’s no surprise that government funding offers help to financially unstable families with living essentials to maintain a running nation. Many of the people receiving the aid; however; are actually not struggling and are only claiming to be to use the financial aid for drugs and alcohol or to avoid having to join the work force rather than using it as intended to care for themselves and their family until they are able to do so themselves. Rapper Russell Tyrone Jones was a key example of the manipulation of government aid and was on welfare and arrived to pick it up in New York City in his private limousine and is shown doing so in an MTV feature on his debut to fame. Sifting through those who actually need the welfare and those who do not is a task that requires not only copious amounts of time, but also money to hire diligent employees who are willing to dig through endless amounts of bank receipts and bills to determine whether or not it is necessary. Instead of dividing the poor into multiple groups and offering help to those who are willing to use it properly, as of October 2012,...
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