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ELIZABETHAN

LITERATURE PERIOD

Papers

Arranged To Fulfill The Task

Subject: Introduction to Literature

Lecture: Rahmi Widyaningsih,SS.,M.Pd.

Arranged By:

Rahmita Utami (1703046062)

Hesti Rindhi Anggraeni (1703046069)

Farih Alfinia Sarinastiti (1703046075)

Dian Islamiati (1703046078)

ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

EDUCATION AND TEACHER TRAINING FACULTY

WALISONGO ISLAMIC STATE UNIVERSITY

SEMARANG

2019
CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

A. Background.

Elizabethan period in the world of English literature is known as the Golden Age
(golden age). Literature experienced a development peak at the beginning of the reign
of Elizabeth. In Elizabeth's time all doubts seemed to disappear from the history of
British society. However, in Elizabethan period it was also inseparable from the
previous period namely the English renaissance which gave birth to several famous
authors who continued his works in the next period namely Elizabeth's period. At the
end of this learning activity you are expected to be able to explain the stages of
community development in the Elizabethan period and mention important figures and
events that led to developments or changes in the community.

B. Problem Formulation.

1. What is the characteristics of the Elizabethan period like important events in the
periods, the government, the people and anything else which important in the
period?

2. Who are some famous authors and their literacy works which were produced,
explain also kinds of genre of literature in the period?

3. What is the characteristics of the literacy works in the period?

C. The Aims of Paper.

1. To know the characteristics of the periods like important events in the periods, the
government, the people and anything else which important in the period

2. To know some famous authors and their literacy works which were produced,
explain also kinds of genre of literature in the period

3. To know the characteristics of the literacy works in the period


CHAPTER II

DISCUSSION

A. History and the Characteristics of Elizabethan Period.


The Elizabeth period lasted in 1550 - 1620. Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne
towards the end of 1558. Elizabeth was a wise queen. He managed to solve important
problems such as religion, peace with Scotland, the inauguration of the national
government, and achieved achievements such as international trade, strength at sea, and
victories over the Spanish Fleet.
Elizabethan period in the world of English literature is known as The Golden Age
(golden age). Literature experienced a peak of development during the reign of Elizabeth.
In Elizabethan period all doubts seemed to disappear from the history of British society.
After the reign of Edward and Mary, with moral defeat and destruction abroad, the change
in power of the king was like sunrise after a long night.Elizabeth, with all her arrogance
and inconsistency, slowly loved England and the greatness of English land, and that has
inspired everyone with the unlimited patriotism that Shakespeare is proud of in his Faery
Queen. Under his administration, the developing country of England with a bigger jump
than ever before and English literature reached the culmination of its development.
During the reign of Elizabeth emerged a literary figure known throughout the world,
namely William Shakespeare. At that time, hundreds of literary works written by British
poets besides Shakespeare also appeared and it can be said that English literature reached
a golden age.
The Elizabethan Age can be identified by the following characteristics:
1. This was a period of great literary creativity and prolific writing. The works included a
variety of prose and verse with topics ranging from Platonic idealism, to romance, to
repulsive realism.
2. Romance dominated all types of literature including drama and plays that were of
utmost importance during this time.for example is Romeo and Juliette that has written
by William Shakespare.
3. This was a time of great experimentation that resulted in wonderful new discoveries
and imposing failures that often became literary topics in both drama and prose.
Science, theology, and the geography were topics of poetry and literature in general.
4. Literature in Elizabethan England was heavily influenced by that of Italy, and to a lesser
extent by that of Spain and France.in this period why heavily influenced by Italy,Spain
and also France because ther are many famous author that from these country in
Elizabethan Era so,they still use they Culture or laguage in their literary work, they also
translated their work that they use the language of France or Italy into English.because
of that they become a famous author in this Period.
5. Authors during this era came from all of the classes including distinguished courtiers
to poor poets who hung out in local taverns, but invariably all were male.1
The Elizabeth government was contrasted with the previous and following government.
During this period, the Protestant / Catholic split was ended by Elizabeth's religious
settlement, and parliament was also not strong enough to challenge royal absolutism.
England was richer than the other European countries. The Italian renaissance has ended
because of Spanish domination in the region. France was busy with a religious war in the
country which was ended in 1598 by a Protestant tolerance policy in the form of the Nantes
Declaration.
One of Britain's greatest rivals was Spain, and both of them had had conflicts in Europe
and America during the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. Efforts of Philip II of Spain to
invade England with the Spanish Fleet in 1588 were successfully broken, but the Drake-
Norris Expedition in 1589 launched by the British into Portugal and the Azores also failed.
After that, Spain gave support to Irish Catholics who rebelled against the British
government, and the Spanish navy and ground forces could break the British attack. This
drained British finance and the economy which had been restored under Elizabeth's
leadership.
Britain in this period had a centralized, well-organized and effective government,
largely the result of Henry VII and Henry VIII's reforms, as well as Elizabeth's harsh
punishment of dissidents. Economically, the country benefited from trans-Atlantic trade
and continued theft of Spanish property.
Parliament of Elizabethan period was attended by a group of representatives and was
divided into the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Elizabethan period

1
https://www.enotes.com accesed on 01 october 2019 at 12.30
parliament had much limited power. In the Elizabethan period, there was no Prime
Minister, no cabinet and no political parties. Elizabethan politics and government operated
at three level.
a. The National level, at this level the Elizabethan politicians attended the Privy
Council.
b. Regional levels such as the Council of the North and the Council of the Marches.
c. At local level there were representatives who attended Parliament and county levels
and the parishes2.
B. Characteristic of Literary Works in the Period.
1. Elizabethan Poetry – Elizabethan Sonnet are:
a. They are written in iambic pentameter consisting of 14 lines (three quatrains and a
couplet).
b. They generally have the rhyiming ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
c. The poetry was marked by Romantic luxuriance and creativity. Use of metaphors
were common3.
2. Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama.
a. Elizabethan Society: became an exercise for propaganda glorifying the King and the
monarchy.
b. Elizabethan Theatre: the facial featuresm body language and more garments of an
actor were cleverly manipulated to estabilish drama in his/ her personality.
Three Forms of Drama: The Tragedy; with spectacular and violent deaths of the
protagonist, History Plays; also ended in catastrophe or in triumph with the nation
projected as the hero, Comedy; to make people laugh but they were not as prominent
as the other two genres.
Dramatic devices in Elizabethan Drama.
Elizabethan Drama Themes: Anti-Semitism, Revenge Tragedy, Supernatural,
Comedy of Humors4.

2
http://elizabethan-politics-and-government.htm accessed on 09 October 2019 at 05.24
3
What are the characteristics of Elizabethan poetry? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-
characteristics-of-Elizabethan-poetry 08 October 2019 at 19.00 pm

4
5 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama Retrieved from https://englishsummary.com/5-characteristics-
elizabethan-drama/ 08 October 2019 at 19.00 pm
C. Elizabethan Literature-Important Writers and Works of the Period
1. George Gascoigne [1535 – 1577] – Elizabethan Literature
Gascoigne was the first ever poet to portray Queen Elizabeth as a deity. She is
shown by him as virgin goddess who rules over England. His most notable work
is A Discourse of the Adventures of Master FJ. Further, George Gascoigne has
introduced many writing forms to English literature through his works.

The Supposes is the first English comedy and fiction written in prose.
The Steel Glass is the English satire written in regular verse.
Jocasta is the first ever translation of a Greek work into English.
Notes of Instruction is the first ever critical essay.
2. Edmund Spenser [1552 – 1599] – Elizabethan Literature
The entry of Edmund Spencer through The Shepherd’s Calendar marked the
beginning of a new era in English poetry. He produced poetry that could touch every
aspect of life and interest. The above poem deals with each month of the year in the
form of pastoral poems. The Epithalamion deals with the wedding of Spenser and
is completely subjective. However, it consists of great imagination and rhythm
making it appropriate for the reader. He has written eighty nine sonnets under the
title Amoretti and dedicated an elegy titled Astrophel for the death of his dear friend
Sir Philip Sidney.
Spenserian stanza is still in use and this is introduced to English literature through
his most notable work – The Faery Queen. The rhyme scheme of Spenserian stanza
is aba bbc bcc. His contributions made him the poet’s poet of English poetry.
3. Sir Philip Sidney [1554- 1586] – Elizabethan Literature
No work of Sidney was published during his lifetime; yet, he has a unique place
in Elizabethan literature and world literature as well. He was a free flowing poet
who often followed the tradition of Petrarch. Astrophel and Stella is a work that
shows his poetic abilities through eleven songs of love and hundred and eight
sonnets. He wrote other poems for the amusement of his sister under the
title Arcadia.
Sidney is well known for his critical discussion of nature of poetry, its
possibilities, functions and future through his works Defence of
Poesie and Apologie for Poetrie. The many objections posed by the puritans of the
Elizabethan age about imaginative poetry were analysed and answered by Sidney
through these works.5
4. The University Wits – Elizabethan Literature
Elizabethan literature would have been incomplete without the contributions
made by group of writers who belonged to Oxford and Cambridge. They were
radical in their approach and had no intentions to follow the norms set by the
Church. It resulted in ambitious works that motivated drama and other forms in a
great deal.
5. William Shakespeare [1564 – 1616] – Elizabethan Literature
The Bard of Avon, the greatest playwright of English literature, the man who
could mirror life with few words, so on and so forth – William Shakespeare needs
no introduction anywhere in the world. He has written thirty eight plays and 154
sonnets in his lifetime. Most of his works are published in Mr. William
Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragediescommonly referred to as First
Folio [1623]. It was published by his colleagues John Heminges and Henry
Condell. The book contained thirty six plays, which are original to the writings of
Shakespeare.
6. William Painter [1540 – 1595] – Elizabethan Literature
Painter is a least known author of the Elizabethan age with little contribution to
the theatre or English literature. However, his most important work is translation of
tales and novels that belonged to French Italian and other classic writers. He took
his sources from Boccaccio, Giovanni Battista Giraldi, Herodotus, Plutarch, Queen
Marguerite de Navarre, Matteo Bandello, etc. Through his work – The Palace of
Pleasure, he compiled one hundred and one tales of great writers. These tales were
an inspiration to writers like William Shakespeare, John Webster, James Shirley,
Beaumont and Fletcher.

5
Elizabethan Literature-Important Writers and Works of the Period from
https://classicalartsuniverse.com/elizabethan-literature-important-writers/ 9 Oct 2019 at
14.32
7. George Chapman [1559-1634] – Elizabethan Literature
A great scholar who is known for his translations of Iliad, Odyssey and
the Hymns; he has done many other translations of the classic writers like Petrarch,
Hesiod and Juvenal. He is considered as the rival poet of Shakespeare for his
remarkable use of words and flow of sentences. Some of his important dramatic
works are All Fools’, The Gentleman Usher and The Blind Beggar of Alexandria.
George Chapman has also written two tragedy plays in French – The Admiral of
France and Bussy D’ Ambois.
8. Sir Francis Bacon [1561 – 1626] – Elizabethan Literature
Bacon is a polymath who worked on philosophy, science, literature, oration,
jury, etc. He is considered as the father of empiricism. During his lifetime, he has
served in high ranking positions like Lord Chancellor and Attorney General. He
always preached the importance of science over religion. His works The
Advancement of Learning, The Novum Organum and The New Atlantis speak in one
way of the other about the systems in the society and the requirement of change.
However, his greatest achievements are his Essays that are fifty eight in number.
Every essay is a masterpiece reflecting human knowledge and how man fears
everything.
9. Michael Drayton [1563 – 1631] – Elizabethan Literature
Drayton was gifted with versatility and he was able to penetrate into every side
of poetry with ease. He started his literary life with a sacred work titled Harmony
of the Church. It was a bit of a disappointment and he reappears with pastoral verse
titled Shepherd’s Garland. After that he wrote on patriotism through Polyolbion. It
gained him great attention and applause while his masterpiece was yet to come.
His Ballad of Agincourt describes about the battle fought at Agincourt during the
Hundred Years War. It has wonderful elements unique to the Elizabethan age.
10. Thomas Heywood [1575 – 1641] – Elizabethan Literature
Thomas Heywood has contributed to both Elizabethan literature and Jacobean
literature. He is said to have involvement in over two hundred plays and he has
authored more than twenty plays. Heywood is known for his domestic comedy
where normal families suffer a tragedy because of high passions and lust. Charles
Lamb describes Thomas Heywood as “prose Shakespeare”. Heywood is well
known for his works A Woman Killed with Kindness, The Pleasant
Comedy and The English Traveller.
11. Ben Jonson [1572 – 1637] – Elizabethan Literature
Jonson is a controversial figure of Elizabethan age and English literature in
common. He is known to slay an actor, quarrels with other dramatists and rivalry
with Shakespeare. However, all of these could not mask the fact that he remains
one of the greatest playwrights of all time. Ben Jonson popularized through his
plays – comedy of humours. His famous plays include Every Man in His
Humour, Every Man Out of His Humour, Volpone or The Fox, Epicoene or The
Silent Woman, Bartholomew Fair, The Devil is an Ass, The Sad Shepherd or A Tale
of Robin Hood and A Tale of a Tub.
6

D. Characteristic of Literary Works in the Period

1) Elizabethan Poetry – Elizabethan Sonnet are:

 They are written in iambic pentameter consisting of 14 lines (three quatrains and a
couplet).

 They generally have the rhyiming ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

 The poetry was marked by Romantic luxuriance and creativity. Use of metaphors were
common.7

2) Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama

 Elizabethan Society: became an exercise for propaganda glorifying the King and the
monarchy.

5 What are the characteristics of Elizabethan poetry? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-


characteristics-of-Elizabethan-poetry 08 October 2019 at 19.00 pm
 Elizabethan Theatre: the facial featuresm body language and more garments of an actor
were cleverly manipulated to estabilish drama in his/ her personality.

 3 Forms of Drama: The Tragedy; with spectacular and violent deaths of the protagonist,
History Plays; also ended in catastrophe or in triumph with the nation projected as the
hero, Comedy; to make people laugh but they were not as prominent as the other two
genres.

 Dramatic devices in Elizabethan Drama.

 Elizabethan Drama Themes: Anti-Semitism, Revenge Tragedy, Supernatural, Comedy


of Humours.8

8
Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama Retrieved from https://englishsummary.com/5-characteristics-
elizabethan-drama/ 08 October 2019 at 19.00 pm
CHAPTER III
CLOSING
A. Conclution
The Elizabethan age saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian
stanza, dramatic blank verse), was a golden age of drama (especially for the
plays of Shakespeare), and inspired a wide variety of splendid prose (from
historical chronicles, versions of the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary
criticism to the first English novels). From about the beginning of the 17th
century a sudden darkening of tone became noticeable in most forms of
literary expression, especially in drama, and the change more or less coincided
with the death of Elizabeth. English literature from 1603 to 1625 is properly
called Jacobean, after the new monarch, James I. But, insofar as 16th-century
themes and patterns were carried over into the 17th century, the writing from
the earlier part of his reign, at least, is sometimes referred to by the amalgam
“Jacobethan.”
REFERENCES