Elizabethan Marriage and Divorce

Topics: Marriage, Family, Divorce Pages: 8 (3362 words) Published: October 6, 2013

Base of Society
As Lyndon Baines Johnson says, “The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough” (Danes). He believed that family is the base of the society. The way that family is set up affects children in all ways. Family structure is very important and that no matter what we do, it will never be enough. No matter what era it is, family structure and relationships will always be part of the citizens everywhere. During the Elizabethan Era, society was controlled by the Protestant Church and the citizens had to follow the rules. On the other hand, modern day society is controlled by the public and the people have more freedom in their actions. Shakespeare’s writing was influenced by the way family structure was set up. Elizabethan marriages were arranged, and many took place at a young age with several customs to follow. The common age most men married was at twenty one. The legal age for boys to get married was at 14 and for girls at 12 with parental permission (“Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”). Most people today would find this shocking because the age was so young, today many people get married at an older age therefore the age difference is odd of the opinion of people of modern time. One of the reasons why the age was so young was because most marriages were arranged in the Elizabethan Era. Elizabethan woman had very little choice in who her husband might be. The Elizabethan women were inferior to the men. They were dependent on the male figure in the family to support them (“Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”). It would be fair to say that women in the Elizabethan Era have little control over their life. Elizabethan women were always brought up to believe that they were inferior to the men and that they knew better. Marriage were usually arranged to bring prestige or wealth to the family. Most couples would meet for the first time on their wedding day (“Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”). This is controversial because in today’s society marriages are based on love and if the two spouses love and want to be with each other. Since it wasn’t like that back then, many people could argue that it is wrong if both spouses are forced into marriage. There were many customs that individuals followed in Elizabethan Marriages. According to “Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”, “Elizabethan wedding custom dictated that the couple’s intention to marry had to be announced in the church three times on three consecutive Sunday or holy days.” Any marriages that were kept secret and not published were considered illegal (“Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”). This is not surprising because the church was in control during the Elizabethan Era; it had very strict and instituting rules that the people had to follow. “Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings” states that, “Arrangements for Elizabethan weddings would have been with local church. Weddings were always a religious ceremony, conducted by a minister.” The women were expected to a dowry, which consisted of money, goods, or property which the woman would bring into the marriage (“Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings”). After the marriage, the law gave the husband rights over his wife; she had become his property. This can be arguable because many people today believe that women have a stance in society, even though they are one by law, it doesn’t mean that she becomes his “property”. Even though marriage was considered a contract which couldn’t be broken, there were ways where people could separate. Divorce in...

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