Punishment In The Elizabethan Era

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Even today, people look back fondly on the Elizabethan Era as one of the times when England was very close to achieving a golden age. While living under Queen Elizabeth did bring about troubles, such as an extreme system of punishment and quarrels with the Catholics, the Elizabethan Era was a time of peace and prosperity, contrasting life before and after Elizabeth’s reign. When Queen ELizabeth died, ending her reign, Catherine Bush states that “No king or queen before her had ever received the nationwide show of grief that England now gave Elizabeth”. (106) In a time when England was almost about to tear itself apart, Queen Elizabeth I came to power and improved the situation. Her influence led to political, cultural, and educational improvement…show more content…
According to “Crime and Punishment in the Elizabethan Era,” crime before Elizabeth’s rule was very common. Thieves and pickpockets would roam the streets all the time, stealing as they pleased and seldomly getting caught. They became very adept, blending into the crowd and forming organizations. When Elizabeth came to rule, she began to come down on the criminals of her time, and she did it very harshly. Minor crimes involved being put in the stocks, which were out in the open so the public could have fun “ridiculing and throwing garbage at people sentenced to this punishment”. (1) Basically all other crimes were punishable by death. Hanging became the punishment for thievery. Treason meant being drawn and quartered, a gruesome way to end a person’s life, with their remains being put on public display to warn others. The commonness of public executions would be appalling today; however, it encouraged the citizens of England to stay away from any form of crime. Queen Elizabeth’s laws did not mean death was imminent for all criminals. Pregnant women could receive pardons, as killing them would mean the death of an innocent child. Priests could also avoid execution, but only once. Elizabeth’s efforts to reduce crime during her rule were extreme, but affected the public in a way that made England a safer
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