Essay, Pages 3 (746 words)
The Elizabethan Era was a time of violence for the procedure they took to punish those who had committed crimes. Punishments that we could never imagine witnessing, in our country to this day.
This is how citizens would deal with crimes, for them it was Justice. All crimes that were committed by citizens, in the Elizabethan era had different types of punishments. It was very strict on what they could and could not do in this time. The most frequent crimes were thefts, cut purses, poaching, adultery, begging, fraud, debtors, forgers and dice coggers.
Something as simple as taking bird eggs could lead to a death penalty. Even just being accused of a crime could lead to torture. Traveling was a crime if the person did not have a licence, this law prevented diseases to spread and keep the poor and the homeless in their town. Other people like palm readers, wizards, unlicensed healers, tinkers, and minstrels would be punished badly.
Therefore, some crimes of the nobility were spying, murder, rebellion, high treason, sedition. This was the Upper class, they were affluent and educated. Elizabethan was split into classes the upper class, the lower class and everyone else. Most crimes were committed by people from the lower class. The two most popular thieves that were on the streets were pickpockets and cutpurses. Pickpockets would grab purses and run away while cutpurses would run by women, cutting their purses from them collecting their belongings. Finally, certain crimes that people would execute in the Elizabethan era are like the crimes that people commit to this day. The punishments for these crimes could be very serious. Committing a crime in the Elizabethan era was not pleasant at all because it could cost the people their lives or torture the them, it was the worst mistake. Punishments included hanging, burning, the pillory and the stocks, whipping, branding, pressing, ducking stools, the wheel, boiling in oil water or lead, starvation in a public place, cutting off parts of body, the Gossip’s Bridle or the Brank and the Drunkards Cloak, the torture was painful and violent.
Minor punishments were people gathering around the criminal, throwing things or making the criminal wear a barrel for public humiliation. Severe or minor punishments varied on how bad the crime was. The punishment for poaching animals depended on the time, if it was during the night it would be a death penalty but during the day it was not. The punishments by death were witnessed by many people, the death penalty could result in having different forms of executions. Tools to torture criminals were the rack, the scavenger’s daughter, the collar, the iron maiden, branding irons and instruments to cause intense pain. However, if a woman that was about to get a death penalty claimed that she was pregnant, they would delay her death till after she gave birth. Lastly, punishments were much more severe during the Elizabethan era compared to the present. A lot has changed in distinction to the type of punishment, in those times it was a lot more violent.
The judicial system counted a lot of laws occurring to punishments for every crime committed and religion depending on witch country. Jail in the Elizabethan era was for people waiting for their trial, those who were guilty and waiting for their punishment or witnesses for a trial. The people would not stay in jail for very long since most of them were waiting for their punishment which would not take long. The house of correction was where criminals were brought for no longer then two years in the goal to punish them for the actions they had done. The courts during the Elizabethan times would try to get confessions out by raking, they would tie them up to a stool and stretch them. The injuries were so bad, most people were not able to walk due to the raking. After all, laws were much stricter back then which resulted with a lot of torture.
To conclude, the Elizabethan era is known for theater and the works of William Shakespeare. However, the crimes, punishments and laws were very violent and strict. Personally, I think they were cruel, and it was unnecessary to kill or hurt people even if they had done wrong. There is a right way for punishment, and they did not undertake it. Therefore, it was a very long time ago. Finally, Shakespeare included themes of crimes and punishments in his plays.