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Logan Library

Reacting to the Past: Marlowe and Shakespeare: The Setting: Elizabethan England

Dr. John Dee: The Queen's Scholar, Sorcerer, and Spy?

Of all the figures in Queen Elizabeth's court, Dr. John Dee is still one of the most fascinating and enigmatic. Accounts of Dee vary wildly, but many believe Shakespeare's Prospero was based on the doctor himself. His occult seals and crystal ball are still kept in the British museum to this day. (Image by Wikimedia Commons)

The Elizabethan Era in Summary

Elizabethan Music

Queen Elizabeth's reign was a golden age of learning, art, and music. Among her other pursuits, the queen herself was a musician and encouraged her court to become equally invested in music. 


"Shakespeare lived during a remarkable period of English history, a time of relative political stability that followed and preceded eras of extensive upheaval. Elizabeth I became the Queen of England in 1558, six years before Shakespeare's birth. During her 45-year reign, London became a cultural and commercial center where learning and literature thrived."

-Shakespeare in American Communities

The Heart and Stomach of a King

(Image made on

Elizabethan Fashion

To say that Elizabethan fashion trends were elaborate would be an understatement. The outfits of the middle and upper classes involved many layers and components and make today's designer clothing looks simple by comparison. (Image by Shakespeare Links)

Elizabethan Art

"Elizabeth I's admiration for the arts, along with England's economic buoyancy during her reign, provided ripe conditions for the production of enduring hallmarks in the visual, decorative, and performing arts."

-The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

(Images by The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Queen Elizabeth I

Books about the Elizabethan Era

Religious Tension

While the reign of Queen Elizabeth's sister, Mary, had been a time of religious persecution, Elizabeth ushered in a new era of tolerance in England for Protestants and Catholics alike. (Image by