A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Elizabethan Social Order In Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 9th Grade

Shakespeare’s England was missing something. After its break from the Catholic church in 1534, national identity was a vacuum that needed to be filled. Since Henry XIII excommunicated the whole country, ended the monastic system, and essentially reformed every part of life, then left little in its place, the void was ripe for something to fill it. Herein comes William Shakespeare. Shakespeare's writings give us a window into the times, a way to look at England from the perspective of someone so socially diverse. Despite this diversity, Shakespeare’s England was one of strict social hierarchies and taboos. People were allowed to go certain places, live certain ways, and there even existed sumptuary laws that dictated how one of certain class could dress. The most oppressed of these peoples were women. Despite the fact of a female queen defying the standard of the country's highest station, women were forced into stricter social taboos and limitations than anyone else. By using Shakespeare as a window into history, we can see how the social taboos of women and society in his day aren’t entirely alien to the time we live in now.

Shakespeare's work that best illuminates this conflict is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Set against the...

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