Monday, November 7, 2011

Elizabethan World Picture

It may just be me (and somehow I doubt that), but the Elizabethan World Picture is not the easiest read. It's not just the wordiness and old British style, as we discussed in class. It's more the allusions to works that I haven't read before. Those make it kind of hard to follow...

So far I understand this (brief summary):

intro - the elizabethan times were not as secular and humanist as some people believe

order - I'M CONFUSED ON THIS ONE! Anyone want to chime in?

sin - struggle with sin vs. redemption (and the optimism that comes with the idea of redemption)

chain - everything has a purpose in the universe, nothing is superfluous, and God is at the top

11 comments:

Shaina Lu said...

Yeah, I definitely agree. Some of the references are really hard to follow although I think Tillyard does a great job of explaining the point he is trying to make from each excerpt.

Order is just the idea that everything has its place in the world. For example there is order in nature almost like food chain which he explains on the top of page 12. There is also order in the sense of cosmic order. He also talks about how chaos meant the end of times on page 16. Finally, he makes the point that mutability, or change, is even part of order because it is constantly occurring.

mere said...

Thanks for the clarification Shaina!

alyb said...

I think another important aspext of the Elizabethan world Picture was the emphasis it placed on the four humours. The people of this time associated meloncholy, cholor, phlegm, and blood with ones tempermant which I found to be very interesting

Mallory said...

i think another big part of Elizabethan World Picture in relation to the for humours were the 4 elements. Earth was the lowest and it was related with the humour meloncholy. Water was next and it was related to phlegm. Air was related to blood and the highest of the elements was fire. Fire was related to choler. The book really emphasized the importance of the elements because in order to have perfect harmony or order, (which was very important to the Elizabethans) one must have had the right balance of the elements.

Mallory said...

Also, gold was considered to be the perfect mixture of all the elements which I thought related to Plato's perfect forms. They were saying that Gold was that perfect form and hardly anything could reach that level of perfection or distribution of the elements. What do yall think?

ParkerC said...

I think it is a good book for the big picture, but all the little details get really annoying trying to remember. It seems like every time period comes up with these things to explain what they don't understand

Ravin S said...

I think that gold being the best ties into Dante's Inferno with the Old Man of Crete. He was talking about the statue that was made of different metals. He had a gold head, silver arms and chest, brass midsection, and iron for the rest (except for one clay foot). The gold was the only unblemished part of the statue, and therefore symbolized a time when man was at his peak.

Ravin S said...

adding more...
Apparently, it was believed in the time that man was in a decline. I don't necessarily think that the Elizabethans thought the same. They did have emphasis on the afterlife, but I am not sure if they believed that they were in a downturn. It's neat how even today gold prices have shot through the roof and it is still considered very valuable.

christine said...

Yeah I definitely find it hard to follow mainly because I cant really relate to it. An example is Tillyard's description of the parts of the body. He says that there are 3 main parts and that the highest part was divided into three other parts. Its sort of confusing for me.

christine said...

Also, i found this trailer for the movie Hamlet (1996). I think it looks pretty awesome...plus Kate Winslet is in it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rd74Gniz-A

sara pendleton said...

I think Tillyard reads kind of like a really really long DBQ. It's interesting that a people who were literally descendants of barbarians who sacked Rome and ended the Roman Empire both praise their own understanding of and superiority over the Romans while at the same time were pretty culturally backwards in some ways. I think that studying the witch trials and papal law shows just how incredibly different the Plato-praising Elizabethans were from the Greeks and Romans. Whats even more interesting to me is, despite their access to Arabic/Byzantine Text Books they still believed in witches and alchemy. They weren't totally backwards, they made a lot of strides in the right direction, but I think the Renaissance was just a stepping stone for the scientific revolution, that even in the Renaissance, the mindset was still pretty Medieval with only a few and important improvements. I always thought it was weird that the protestants persecuted even more witches than the Catholics, and even weirder that witch trials still existed even later in America with the Puritans at the Salem witch trials. Belief in witches and demonic possession seems to point to an underlying belief in the Great Chain of Being and Elizabethan Order even later than the Elizabethan era.
Also I don't understand the theory of Correspondences. I understand the different planes but not the theory...