Shakespeare’s plays are performed all over the word today as part of the cultural background of Western civilization. They have survived for four centuries and have proved themselves to be of a high, dramatic quality with an appeal to modern audiences. It could for example be the words, which are lost to us today that appeal us. But also the ideas of the world, morals, philosophy, and religion were different from those of today. The Elizabethans were much closer to a medieval way of thinking than to our modern world picture: In politics the idea of the absolute ruler developed. The middle class also secured jobs for themselves and influence at court and replaced the old class of noble-men, who had previously received the king’s favors. The king was regarded as being in total control of making the laws and seeing them carried out. These powers were seen as having been given to him directly by God. It meant that he was only responsible for his actions to God. The reformation led to a new belief in the individual; a man had a free will and could therefore be responsible and is held responsible for his own actions, which were undertaken on the basis of his conscience. At the same time there was a belief in destiny, which shaped the life of man. The medieval idea of the universe was that the Earth was the centre of the universe. It was surrounded by spheres (9 or 11), with the Moon in the sphere closest to the earth. In the imperial heaven (the sphere after the 9th sphere) God was to be found, surrounded by large numbers of angels. The closer one got to the heavens, the purer and more brilliant were the spheres. Everything below the moon (the sublunary region) was not stable, but changeable and in constant danger of being destroyed. The earth was to be considered as a dumping ground of the universe and consequently heavy and filthy. The main reason of this was the Fall of Man. The concept of the “chain of being” is close to the idea of cosmic order....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document