Summary on Helen Caster´s Elizabeth I: Exception to the Rule

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This is a summary of the Article "Elizabeth I: Exception to the Rule" by Helen Castor in History Today. In the article, Castor analyzes the history of queens and queenship itself in medieval England. In this day and age it is very common to see a woman obtaining complete power, whether it be something as simple as choosing what she wears, to it being something as complex as making the final decisions in a successful corporation, which she happens to own. Woman as a whole have made tremendous leaps towards equality over the centuries and will continue to do so. Having a female monarch seemed utterly unnatural in the 12th century and there was a harsh civil war due to Matilda's claim to the throne. Until the second half of the 16th century, England had been ruled by kings. The unexpected death of Edward VI in 1553 presented the opportunity for the crown to be passed to two queens, Mary Tudor also known as the infamous bloody Mary and Elizabeth I also known as the virgin queen. In medieval England the power of the crown was male. A woman was categorized as incompetent to carry out the obligations of a king, such as upholding order within the kingdom and defending the country. A queen was meant to be the wife of a king and to exemplify the feminine aspects of law making and war, not his equivalent. This is the reason for Henry VIII's persistence to father a son to commence a memorable line of Tudor kings. Despite the absence of a law constraining a female from inheriting the crown as there was in France, Henry didn't consider that he may have left his thrown to a woman. After the abrupt death of Louis X in 1316, it was determined that the king's brother, Phillip should succeed him, instead of his four-year-old daughter Joan. Joan wa... ... middle of paper ... ...illip would have the title of king in England, but none of the authority. In November 1558, at the age of 42, Mary died with no children and her crown passed to her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth. Only six months after Knox's First Blast had been published, the increment of this Protestant queen confronted John Knox with the imperative need to rectify his opinion on female rule. Elizabeth was not dazzled and when he returned from Geneva to Scotland in 1559, she would not allow him on English soil, leaving him to venture off into the more dangerous North Sea route to Lea. Rather than following the pattern everyone expected Elizabeth to, she chose to be different. Elizabeth chose to utilize her power, not forcefully but by establishing herself as something unique. Elizabeth was the exception; she was an icon as well as a queen, and for that she will be remembered.

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