The Elizabethan world picture can best be understood by reference
to medieval background. The Elizabethans pictured the universal
order under 3 main forms: a chain, a series of corresponding planes
and a cosmic dance. In the chain of being the position of man
was extremely interesting. The Elizabethans were most interested
in human nature, especially in the conflict between reason and
passion. The world picture was vertical, but the second picture
of the same world was largely horizontal. The different planes
were the divine and angelic, the universe of macrocosm, the body
politic, man or the microcosm and lower creation. Eventually the
dance to music was repeated on the different levels of existence.
The whole universe was governed by divine will. The Elizabethan's
were obsessed with the fear of chaos.
The old order of idea was seriously weakened by a vast range of
cultural influence, such as the idea of Copernicus, who created
a new model of the Solar System.
The new conditions favoured the ideal of self - development through
action and the new century was to consolidate this pragmatic outlook.