How Accurately Do the Three Eyewitness Accounts Portray the Social Realities of Elizabethan England? Essay

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How accurately do the three eyewitness accounts portray the social realities of Elizabethan England? The three eyewitness accounts each, to an extent, attempt to define the social realities within Elizabethan England. They identify the hierarchical nature of the social system, something which is clearly apparent through looking at other sources. Whilst the accounts are undeniably limited in that they focus largely on the experience of the social elites, they also provide a ‘view from above’ of the social system. Whilst accurate in gaining an idea of the social realities of a certain type of Elizabethan person, namely the elite, it is perhaps necessary to look to other sources to identify the true social realities of the period as the accounts give something of a one sided view. Therefore, whilst the accounts are largely consistent with many other sources we have seen describing the hierarchical nature of the social system, a range of material and particularly secondary sources are useful as a way of establishing a wider and more inclusive sense of the social realities of Elizabethan England than the accounts provide. The eyewitness accounts are clearly written by elite members of society and are therefore documenting their experience of the social hierarchy. With this in mind, the authors perhaps hold ulterior motives in establishing and maintaining these levels of hierarchy and their position at the top end of it. The Wilson and Smith extracts emphasize the way in which the higher classes of society were very established in their roles within society and that there was not a great deal of movement within them. However, this can be seen as contradicted by other sources suggestive that nobility were able to progress particularly under the Queen’s patronage.[1] Whilst a degree of this change can be seen within the sources it is largely restricted to the

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