The Time Traveler And Elizabethan England Essay

The Time Traveler And Elizabethan England Essay

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The Elizabethan era was a time of literary discoveries, military victories, and religious developments. History tends to focus on the military achievements of the time, such as the successful defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, or the religious developments of the time, such as the overthrow of the Catholic Church in England and the implementation of the Protestant Church. Literature historians focus on the emergence of Elizabethan authors like Shakespeare and Marlowe. Ian Mortimer, the author of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England, focuses on the social history of the era. He explains the lives of the people of England in the 1600s. Mortimer describes their laws, their medicine, their eating and dressing habits, and their entertainment. The purpose of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England is to give readers a vivid look into the past, into one of the most celebrated eras in history, with hopes that the modern era learns that “the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived” (Front Flap).
Throughout the book, Mortimer makes several major interpretations of the society of England. He interprets that the people of England related to Queen Elizabeth I more than they did her half-sister Mary, thus leading to her being a somewhat beloved queen. He writes that Elizabeth’s Boleyn bloodline was entirely English, while Mary’s mother was of Aragon. “By birth, [Elizabeth] is one of them” (30-31). While the elites listened to the scientific developments with educated ears, the poorer people believed in superstition and witchcraft. According to Mortimer, the English did not burn witches; this was a tradition in Scotland and Continental Europe. The English hung them. From 1547 to 156...


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...med unnecessary to me. Mortimer lists prices of poultry and grain (204-205). His descriptions of how much garments cost, how men kept their beards, and how women maintained their accessories seem irrelevant; however, I understand why Mortimer included these minute details. He wrote about the Elizabethan society, and these details are an important part of it. After reading the book, I agree that the past is something that should be learned from. Before reading this book, I was oblivious to societal changes and how they would structure a civilization. Now I realize that many of the norms we have today, such as a daily breakfast, comes from major societal changes in different eras. The people and the way they live affect history, and thanks to Ian Mortimer, I believe that understanding the society of a historical period can help us better understand history as a whole.

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