The unbounded optimism and humanist spirit of the Renaissance could not go on forever. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the quest for human perfection had given way to decadence, cynicism, and an introversion which would stifle creativity for a long time to come. In England, the rise of Puritanism, itself an offshoot of Renaissance philosophy, put the brakes on the pursuit of knowledge and aesthetic endeavors. Another factor leading to the end of the English Renaissance was the failure of Queen Elizabeth to produce an heir. All of England adored their Queen, yet she was literally the end of a line. The power vacuum she left behind was immense, and set the stage for shocking violence and intrigue. In a nation fraught with such political uncertainty, the arts invariably suffered a decline.