Extreme Punishment: The Role Of Retribution In Elizabethan England

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Raymond Patricio Mr. Crosby English 1 3 May. 2010 Retribution in Elizabethan England “Those who break the sceptres of the law deserve no pity.” (Queen Elizabeth 1st). “There was many ruling monarchs during the Elizabethan period, and the majority of them strictly believed in extreme punishment for crime in order to run a peaceful country or town etc.” (Elgin 27). Extreme punishment was believed to keep order in a country because they thought that if punishment was horrific people wouldn’t commit the crimes they would want because they knew how the consequences would result in. Elizabethan England was split into two classes- The Upper Class, the nobility and courtiers, and everyone else. Punishment would vary according to class, the…show more content…
16). Many crimes committed by commoners were through sheer desperation. The most common crimes were: theft, cutting purses, begging, adultery, forgers, fraud, and dice codgers. Theft for stealing anything over five pence outcomes in hanging. It was a terrible price to pay, especially for the poor who were starving. Small actions such as stealing a birds eggs could result in the death sentence. Punishment was also based on the time the crime was committed. Crime at night resulted in death, where as crime during the day did not. Having the occupation as a “poor beggar” was considered illegal and the punishment would to be beaten. The beatings were extremely bloody and merciless, those who were tediously being caught could be sent to prison for life or even hung by the neck. Punishment for lower classmen during the Elizabethan period included the following: hanging, burning, whipping, brandings, pressing, the wheel, boiling in oil water or lead, starvation in public places, and cutting off body parts. Being burnt at the stake was an appalling death, some executioners showed mercy to their victims by placing gun powder at the base of the stake which helped to more swiftly and less malevolent death. Other deaths were suffocation through respiration of the smoke creating less oxygen witch you can not

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