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Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story

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Introduction

This time of the Age of Absolutism took place in the approximate era of 1660-1789. This was a very intense time of history. Absolute Monarchy is a form of government in which a single individual, often called a king or queen, exercises complete control over all aspects of government. The position of monarch in such a country is hereditary, with succession usually passing through the male line. Divine Right of a sovereign to rule as set forth by the theory of government that holds that a monarch receives the right to rule directly from God and not from the people.

Louis XIV

1643-1715

France

Born on Sept. 5, 1638, Louis was the first, regarded as "god-given," child of the long-married Louis XIII and his Habsburg wife, Anne of Austria. He succeeded his father on the throne at the age of four. However, he was also a neglected child, cared for by servants. Once he almost drowned in a pond because no one was watching him. However, his mother, Anne of Austria who caused the neglect, instilled in him a lasting fear of "crimes committed against God". While his mother was regent the great nobles and the judges of the parliament of Paris launched a major but uncoordinated revolt (the Fronde of 1648-53) in reaction to the centralizing policies of Louis XIII's minister Cardinal Richelieu and his successor, Mazarin. The royal family was twice driven out of Paris, and at one point Louis XIV and Anne were held under virtual arrest in the royal palace in Paris. This civil war brought Louis XIV poverty, misfortune, fear, humiliation, cold and hunger. This shaped his character and he would never forgive either Paris, the nobles, or the common people. Cardinal Mazarin was victorious in 1653 and constructed an extraordinary administration for the kingdom. Louis was a very selfish person who only cared for himself.

"It is legal because I wish it."

Elizabeth I

1558-1603

England

It was a major accomplishment that she ever survived to become Queen of England! Her mother was executed on the charge of Treason, adultery and incest. She was branded a bastard by her father, King Henry VIII. She lost her title of Princess Elizabeth and had to be referred to as Lady Elizabeth! As Princess Elizabeth she survived a scandal concerning herself and Thomas Seymour, the husband of her stepmother Katharine Parr. It was a major accomplishment to survive the questioning she endured at the Tower of London when she was imprisoned there by her half-sister Mary Tudor ( aka Mary I & Bloody Mary). She was accused of being involved with the Protestant rebellion, led by Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger. Queen Elizabeth I seemed rather more liberal than her sister Mary. She was far more tolerant of religion and only really persecuted those who used their religion for political reasons or shoved their religion in her face. In truth, she was probably as ruthless as her sister but was more discreet about it.

"I will make you shorter by the head."

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