Saturday, November 8, 2014
Great Chain of Being and Social Classes during the Elizabethan Era
As we know, during the Elizabethan times, the social class were the nobility, the gentry, the yeomen, and the poor. I talked about briefly in class how the order of the universe was supposed to mimic order on earth. The Great Chain of Being was a way for social class to be enforced. Since the ruler was thought to be divine, anyone in any of the classes that did not fulfill their assumed role in society was thought to be a threat to the whole chain. Not fulfilling one's responsibility was thought to break the order of the chain. This "break of the Chain would disrupt established order and also bring about universal disorder. Because of this great concern with keep the chain intact, people during the Elizabethan times followed their role in their specific class in society. As Ms. King mentioned in class, the Great Chain that set the order of the class was a way to justify inequality and unfairness. People in the lower class who chose not to work for wages and abandoned their occupations was a crime punishable by law. I think that this shows how serious people of the Elizabethan age were about everyone fulfilling their role in order to ensure order and stability in society and in the universe.