What is it?
The great chain of being is a structure in which people ran their lives by that was about all matter and life. It was a hierarchical system. Founded by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus. Further developed in the middle ages then hit full bloom at the time of Neoplatonism. Which is a philosophy that believes the enter structure of reality comes from the one.
How did it work?
The hierarchy started high. With god, then angels, then demons, to kings, and those who are just below the king, to plants and animals. Therefore it made the people believe that a king was legitimate and superior based on the legitimacy he had to the throne. It also meant that they could be tyrannical leaders because they could only be judged by God so could not be held accountable for things such as parliament.
Elizethbean England and its social construct Social, religious and political constructs of the time-
The social construct had a huge imbalance between the nobles and the peasants. The nobles who were able to live rich extravagant lives made up 3 percents of the population. 95 percent were peasants. Who spent their lives toiling in the fields. most of what they made went to the nobles whose land they lived on. Another large percentage went to the local church which makes me believe that it must have been an essential part of their lives. Economically there was a huge imbalance because the peasants could only make just enough to get by where as the nobles were making huge amounts of money. There was beginning to become a large distinction between the old families and the new. The old ones were mostly Catholic and the new ones were largely protestant.
What was happening with the monarchy and how the people of England responded-
In her time Elizabeth was seen as one of Englands greatest monarchs by her own people. She was considered wise, intelligent and able to compromise well.
‘Divine right to rule” evidence-
‘James VI of Scotland felt that royal authority influenced and formed laws, which ultimately created royal superiority over its subjects. James wrote the Basilikon Doron in 1599 for his son, and then heir, Prince Henry. This treatise highlighted the powers that Kings had over their subjects, but renounced becoming a tyrant, and emphasised being a good Christian. It states that a King must “acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from the god a burden of government, whereof he must be countable.’- royal central.co.uk
How the society would have reacted to a play like ‘king lear” at the time-hey wouldve have been conditioned since bith by the scoiety that they live in to belive in the divine rule of their ruler. So when King Lear was treated the way that he was they would have been mortified and convinced in the evilness of king lears daughters.