Elizabethan world view and the Great Chain of Being - Weebly

Elizabethan world view and the Great Chain of Being - Weebly

*Elizabethan world view and the Great Chain of Being *During Elizabethan times, people believed that everyone and everything was arranged in a certain order a hierarchy *It was this order, known as the Great Chain of Being, that was threatened by new and exciting discoveries in science and astronomy. *Elizabethan

World View the basics *According to this idea, everything in the world had its position fixed by God: * The Earth was the center of the universe and the stars moved around it in fixed routes. * In Heaven God ruled over the archangels and angels. * On earth there was order everywhere. Society reflected this order with its fixed classes from the highest to the lowest kings, churchmen, nobles, merchants, and peasants. * The animals had their own order too, the lion being the king. * Plant life and minerals also reflected this order.

Among the trees, the most superior was the oak; among flowers, it was the rose. * Among the minerals, gold was the most superior. God Cherubs Archangels, Angels Outside of chain: Nothingness/chaos Star controllers of Destiny Moon King

Church Princes Nobles Man Lion Other Animals Oak and Rose Other Plants Gold Other Minerals *The Chain of Being served to create social stability everyone knew their place on the chain and interacted with the other levels: *The people higher up on the chain

were responsible to provide for or care/protect those below them *The people lower down had a responsibility to obey and serve those above them *The Chain of Being world view created the beliefs and values for individuals and the society of Shakespeares time *The chain was a transactional sort of system I do this for you if you do this for me *If someone in the chain doesnt fulfill their responsibility

they are considered to be breaking the chain *Any attempt to break the Chain of Being would upset the established order and bring about universal disorder *The Chain of Being represents the social order of the time. *Anything that is outside the chain is considered to be chaos/nothingness/ madness/evil. *Therefore, by implication, if the chain is broken the order in the world is broken, and it can descend into chaos.

*Nothingness, chaos, madness, evil all of these things are outside the chain and are not considered to be made by God. *Everything within the chain is created by God. *Therefore everything within the chain is good. *Therefore there is no evil in the chain. *As evil doesnt exist

within the chain, it can only enter if the chain is broken. *It is essential that you understand the Chain of Being world view in order to understand the play. *It was believed that the King was divinely chosen by God. *As Gods chosen representative on earth, the King was the supreme upholder of order on earth. *If his position was violated it would destroy the perfect order in the universe and bring strife and

chaos to the world. *Any act of treason or treachery against the King was considered indirectly to be a mortal sin against God. The penalty was death. *The Divine Right of Kings *Questio ns 1. Recount the basic assumptions upon which the Elizabethans Worldview was founded. 2. What are the three basic orders of the universe? 3. What position should man occupy in this great organization?

4. Define Great Chain of Being. *Create a visual showing the construct of your personal Great Chain of Being. Feel free to be as creative and as interpretive as you like. Consider past examples in the classroom and think outside the box! You will have 2 minutes to present your Great Chain of Being to the class on __________.

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