Marriage customs today are very different than those of the Renaissance era. During this era women had limited options in marriage and life. In Michael Best’s article, “The Age of Marriage,” he indicates that although people did not get married as young as people believed, marriage was still not so much about love. For example, “in some noble houses marriages were indeed made at a young age for reasons of property and family alliance,” (Best, 1).
A clear example of this is that Caplet wants Juliet to marry Paris to expand their name and alliances. Juliet did not love Paris but was being forced into marrying him by her parent’s. In addition, girls were obliged to marry a man that was successful and rich. This narrowed down the limited choices for women and although young girls had no interest in marrying they had to in order to get wealthier and have a better life. However, children of noble birth ran a great risk if they tried to marry without their parent’s prior approval, since they would be feet with no resources.
Some marriages were in fact based on love but it was very rare because the bridegroom may not have been wealthy or known. Novel Guider’s article, “The Institution of Marriage in Renaissance Era,” implies that marriage was both secular and sacred. For example, secularly, it served as a coming together of two parties interested in obtaining property, money, or political alliances. This was the main goal of noble homes. Some marriages were also sacred in that it assured the love of a man and woman and searched for reproduction.
William Shakespearean ark displays the sacredness of love and marriage. However, some families did not force marriages because, “the best marriages were those that were equally consensual and desired by both parties,” (novel guide, 1). Freedom of choice varied for each child in a family. Each child had a certain amount of freedom in choosing their mate. The eldest son was under the greatest pressure since he inherited the majority of the land. His marriage was often critical to the families survival because they depended on him for financial support. This article somewhat contradicts
Michael Best’s article in which he states that all marriages where forced on. Jeremy Goldberg article, “The Right to Choose: Woman, Consent and Marriage in Late Medieval England,” suggests that marriage was indeed forced on, but by not only parent’s. Jeremy Goldberg provides an example in which a girl was forced by her attacker to agree to marry him. This was very common during this era. Men eager for money and land would force wealthy and innocent girls into marrying them. John Dale was a man who used physical violence and the threat of it to con Agnes into marrying him.
In all, these three articles provide examples of marriage being an important for both men and woman. Some marriages were made to have more wealth and land while others were made simply because two partners loved each other very much. Some marriages were so important that men would take drastic measures in order to have a wife. And although women had very limited options and were considered a minority, they managed to have a good life if they chose the right man. Very much has changed during the years. Best, Michael. “The Age of Marriage. ” Roughage Ballads. University of Victoria