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janusz asked in Society & CultureRoyalty · 1 decade ago

How does HAMLET relate to Elizabeth I and the Elizabethan “Settlement”?

Elizabeth I and the Elizabethan Settlement:

Elizabeth I was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor Dynasty. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth. One of her first moves as the Queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church. The Settlement held firm throughout her reign and later evolved into today's Church of England. The “Elizabethan Religious Settlement” was Elizabeth’s response to the religious divisions created over the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. This was described as "The Revolution of 1559" and was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England. Elizabeth's changes were more wholesale than her half‑brother’s, Edward VI. She also appointed a new Privy Council, which included removing many Roman Catholic counselors in the process. The Act of Uniformity (1559) forced people to attend Sunday service in an Anglican Church.

how does this relate to the play, Hamlet?

1 Answer

  • Paco
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think it is customary to think of Shakespeare as non-religious. Not so much an athiest but as someone who would use religious purely as a plot device.

    But young Hamlet is a student at Wittenberg (birthplace of Protestanism) while old Hamlet’s ghost is in purgatory. this may be a subtle way of Shakespeare getting a shot in against the Settlement. There is some evidence that Shakespeare's parents may have been Catholic, and his wedding ceremony was Catholic.

    The twisted dealings of the court in Denmark may have been Shakespeare taking a shot against Protestanism.

    Mind you that Shakespeare would have to be extremely subtle. Any overt commentary against the Settlement could land him in jail or worse.

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