"The Renaissance was a rebirth that led to new ways of thinking in the sciences, philosophy, and architecture, as well as painting and sculpture" (Spence 6). This period of European history, beginning in the fourteenth-century, saw a renewed interest in the arts. It has been characterized by many as the birth of modern humanity and consciousness after a long period of decay, the Middle Ages. Until the revolutionary thinkers of the Renaissance, much of Europe was dormant and stagnant, immersed in the "Dark Ages" where the Christian God was viewed as a punishing and distant force. During the Middle Ages, Christian historians broke history into three divisions: the creation, the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the anticipated last judgement.
Molding Shakespeare The creation of a profound poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, was the direct result of the Renaissance. In order to understand how Shakespeare came to be, there is first a need to understand exactly what the Renaissance was. The original Italian word, ‘Rinascimento’, means ‘rebirth’ (Wilberg). This refers of course to the rebirth of learning. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spread all over Europe and was considered the division between the Middle Ages and the Modern Era (Castellan).
The Renaissance which translates roughly as a rebirth and fresh thinking which lasted from the 14th through 17th centuries attempted to reapply the ancient intellectual learning of the Greco-Roman Civilization. The thinkers and artists of this new era differed remarkably from their medieval counterparts. Broadly speaking, Mediaeval period was a period predominantly dominated by Christian outlook. Moreover, All of the Civilizations regarded as ‘Heirs’ of Rome paid significant tribute to their respective religion. Thus, it can be safely concluded that religion and politics were interwoven in Medieval period.
During the times 1400s and 1500s primarily in Italy, there was an essential change that encompassed all aspects of life. It is called a Renaissance. The word renaissance means rebirth and it was a response to adversities in middle ages. In Western European history Renaissance or rebirth marks a transition between the times of Medieval and modern era. It is also the beginning of the modern history.
During the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, a revolutionary shift in the European cultural sphere placed human beings at the center of learning as the thoughts and artworks of man became infused with humanistic ideals. With time, such values, then held current in Italy, began to diffuse into other areas and produce each regions’ individual renaissance. Immediately following the Middle Ages, European civilization had begun to become characterized by interests in classical learning and values. This is evident in the very meaning of the term “renaissance”—rebirth. Italian artists and scholars viewed themselves as revitalizing the standards and achievements of classical Roman culture; some writers such as Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio studied Ancient Rome and Greece and sought to revive these cultures’ values, languages, and intellectual traditions after the long period of stagnation that trailed the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Renaissance was a period of time after the medieval period in which religion, economics and politics mold into some aspects of science, literature and philosophy. The renaissance originated in Florence, Italy and then spread to parts of Europe. In Italy the major focus was on cultural art, while in England literature and music was their main focus. Literature and music were how the renaissance ideas were mainly spread. During the English Renaissance ideas were spread throughout England because of William Shakespeare.
“The English renaissance was first launched by King Henry around the early 15th century” (the Renaissance back 2). King Henry was fascinated by the cultural and artistic views of the original Italian Renaissance. Henry's interest in arts was widely recognized, and knowledge of the Classics was regarded as “an avenue to royal favor” (the English Renaissance 2). Though the English renaissance had many influences and people who made it possible the Italian Renaissance is arguably the biggest. The Italian Renaissance was the start of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change.
Within the Italian Renaissance, artistic innovations accelerated a new and centralized life and culture in Western European history. Artistic innovations in the Italian Renaissance era paved a way differentiating from Middle Age art by combining newly-found influences in an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more prominent individualistic view of man. The Italian Renaissance period was an era of experimentation and technical mastery. As noted by Julie L. Carnagie in The Renaissance and Reformation Reference Library, “During the Middle Ages, art had a religious theme and the artist was an anonymous vehicle for glorifying God. In the Renaissance, however, human beings became the central focus of artistic expression in painting, sculpture, and architecture.” Within European society, the Middle Ages was classified as a time period of darkness consumed with little education or innovation.
Birth of a New Era Despite the problems of the fourteenth century, it marked the beginnings of extraordinary changes in numerous facets of fifteenth century society. This astonishing revolution was coined the Renaissance, which meant “rebirth.” The Renaissance led to such literary pioneers as Niccolò Machiavelli. His work, The Prince, gave detailed instructions as to what qualities a perfect leader must possess and how to use these qualities. Machiavelli presented a thorough account of a perfect prince and how he achieved and maintained power. Machiavelli’s The Prince is a classic literary example of Renaissance writing in the ideas it conveys and how it conveys them.
Modern history was the abandonment of European confinement. I understand modern history as being the revival of the appreciation of art, ideas, and moral values known as the Renaissance. During and before this time period, the majority of the European population was deeply embedded and blinded by the church. It is my understanding that Modern history is comprised of a sequence of events. It was not limited to specific dates, it was a continuous cycle of religious and political strives for power, establishment, and scientific discovery.