English 1 (College Prep)
April 26, 2013
Marriage in the Renaissance Era
Marriage customs today are very different than those of the Renaissance era. During this era women had limited options in marriage and life. In Michael Best’s article, “The Age of Marriage,” he indicates that although people did not get married as young as people believed, marriage was still not so much about love. For example, “in some noble houses marriages were indeed made at a young age for reasons of property and family alliance,” (Best, 1). A clear example of this is that Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris to expand their name and alliances. Juliet did not love Paris but was being forced into marrying him by her parents. In addition, girls were obliged to marry a man that was successful and rich. This narrowed down the limited choices for women and although young girls had no interest in marrying they had to in order to get wealthier and have a better life. However, children of noble birth ran a great risk if they tried to marry without their parents prior approval, since they would be left with no resources. Some marriages were in fact based on love but it was very rare because the bridegroom may not have been wealthy or known. Novel Guide’s article, “The Institution of Marriage in Renaissance Era,” implies that marriage was both secular and sacred. For example, secularly, it served as a coming together of two parties interested in obtaining property, money, or political alliances. This was the main goal of noble homes. Some marriages were also sacred in that it assured the love of a man and woman and searched for reproduction. William Shakespeare’s work displays the sacredness of love and marriage. However, some families did not force marriages because, “the best marriages were those that were equally consensual and desired by both parties,” (novel guide, 1). Freedom of choice varied for each child in a family. Each child had a certain amount of...
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