Many common beliefs in Elizabethan times were rooted in religious ideals and superstitions because microscopes did not exist in Elizabethan times. Although Queen Elizabeth I, for whom the era was named, placed less emphasis on religion than previous leaders, witchcraft was still a prominent belief in Elizabethan Era. Spinsters who concocted healing potions and kept pets were at the highest risk of being accused of witchcraft.
Women were considered the inferior sex, however, and anyone who failed to publicly proclaim themselves as Christian was viewed as a second-class citizen. Although both Catholicism and Protestantism were recognized religions in the Elizabethan Era, Protestantism, specifically the Church of England, was more highly regarded.
Elizabethan times began in 1558 and ended in 1603 with the death of Queen Elizabeth I. Prior to Elizabeth's rise to power, religion had primarily dictated common beliefs. Elizabeth I, however, was a proponent of education and the arts which led to a bit of a struggle between religious beliefs and superstition and intellectual development. Because many instruments key to modern science and medicine were still in rudimentary stages of development or did not exist, God was basically the root of all Elizabethan beliefs. God brought families together for marriage unions, granted men power over women, dictated who was blessed with wealth, protected armies and healed the sick. Anyone who fell or placed themselves outside of the realm of these beliefs became suspicious as heretics or witches and were often punished or even put to death.