Compare & Contrast Edward II: The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable End of Edward the Second, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer by Christopher Marlowe

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14th century: Homosexuality was a fairly common practice in the upper-classes and among courtiers. However, sodomy was officially considered anti-Christian and was punishable by law.

16th century: Homosexuality was not openly tolerated in Elizabeth's time, although it was common at the university and elsewhere. The many derogatory terms—sodomite, buggerer, and so on—attest to the negative stigma homosexual activity had in numerous circles of society; and, as in the 14th century, sodomy was punishable by fines, arrest, and placement in the pillory. The act of sodomy was widely considered a vile import from the continent, specifically from Turkey and Italy.

Today: More tolerant values tend to prevail in today's culture. A few states retain laws against sodomy, and though they are rarely enforced, they represent sites of legal and moral controversy for many people. Those who believe that society has progressed beyond such official intolerance and...

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