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Marriage in the Renaissance and Shakespeare's As You Like It Essays

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Marriage in the Renaissance and As You Like It

 
   The concept of marriage has been considered to be a sacred and traditional part of life since the beginning of relationships between human beings. The rules of these intimate relationships were set up in accordance with church law. Such rules consisted of the conventional/typical marriage and the ritual of marriage (ceremony). William Shakespeare examines the customs of marriage practice of the Renaissance time period in his work As You Like It.

 

Marriage at the time focused on a heterosexual relationship between a man and woman. Kirsti S. Thomas, explains that marriage did not concern the true love element that exists in the typical marriages of today. At the time of Shakespeare, she states that marriage "served to transfer wealth or property and to continue the family line" (2). Marriages were the result of socially and economically oriented environments, similar to the caste system in India. According to a web source specializing in Renaissance weddings, such couplings of "...arranged marriages of the upper class were decided when the bride and groom were young, usually ten to eleven years. Lower class marriages had similar motives, however they were the result of pregnancies " (3). Generally, the marriage had to have full consent of at a family member or parental guardian. There were many ordinances and specific codes of conduct that had to be followed before a wedding was to take place. Thomas describes one of these ordinances with having two guidelines, "In order to be recognized by the church, one of the partners must give consent and the priest must say the formula, 'we join together in this holy matrimony...'" (6). Courtly love did exist, and was encourage...


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...t.  Consentual marriage was between a man and a woman. The ritual of a marriage ceremony was more secular and inter-linked with the Catholic church. Throughout the characters in the play, those themes are illustrated.

 

Works Cited

Coulton, G.G. Life in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. 1967. P. 83

Davis, William Steams. Life of a Medieval Barony. Harper and Row. New York. 1951. P. 109-112.

Greensblatt, Stephen.  The Norton Shakespeare Oxford Edition. W.W. Norton and Co. New York. 1997. 1591-1656.

Thomas, Kirsti S/ "Medieval and Renaissance Marriage: Theory and Customs". Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Page. http://www.drizzle.com?~celyn/mrwp/mrwed.html.

Ed: Kuehl B.J. 1995. Date Accessed: 14 October 2002. http://www.renaissance-weddings.net/

Renaissance Weddings. 2001. World Web Design, LLC. Date Accessed: 14 October 2002.


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