Essay about Queen Elizabeth

Essay about Queen Elizabeth

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The imagery of Elizabeth Tudor has captured audiences for centuries, and continues to do so today. Notions of the great “Gloriana” and the patriotic “Virgin Queen” are still alive in our popular consciousness and widely studied by twenty-first century historians. Elizabeth’s popularity has contributed to a complex collection of imagery surrounding her, and as a consequence, one of the greatest challenges scholars are faced with is to separate the real Elizabeth from the legend. In my research, I will focus on the queen’s speech at Tilbury in 1588, a speech delivered to the English troops as they were awaiting an impending attack of the Spanish Armada. The Tilbury address is one of Elizabeth’s most frequently quoted speeches, despite recurring debates regarding its authenticity. The speech offers an alternate understanding of Elizabeth’s role as a female ruler, since it depicts the queen on the battlefield as opposed to the royal court. Elizabeth I’s speech at Tilbury, whether fact or legend, provides historians with important clues to the imagery surrounding the queen, and the opportunities, limitations, and expectations that faced a female ruler of the sixteenth-century.
Elizabeth’s speech at Tilbury was recorded by Dr. Leonel Sharp in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham in 1623. Sharp’s version first appeared in print in 1654, and is the most commonly cited version of the speech. An even earlier version of the Tilbury address was printed in 1612 and penned by William Leigh. However, this version is quite different and has enjoyed less popular and scholarly attention. Nonetheless, both of these printed recordings will be invaluable to my research, since they both provide an image of Elizabeth as a warrior queen who suppor...


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...izabeth’s speech at Tilbury has been referred to as an expression of “militant Protestantism.”In this initial stage of research, I am hoping that my sources will validate the following provisional thesis: Elizabeth’s speech at Tilbury in 1588, provoked a new imagery of the queen that served to unify the English people under a single monarch, a monarch that embodied both masculine and feminine virtues and also came to symbolize Protestantism in England.
As all historians, I will be at the mercy of my sources, and my thesis is very likely to change during the course of research. Yet, I do want to focus on the gender aspects of Elizabeth’s speech, and the way in which concepts of gender can manipulate acts of representation. Also, I hope to explore how gender is tied to religion, and how Elizabeth’s imagery could be manipulated to promote Protestantism in England.

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