Elizabeth I And The Politics Of Sex And Power Summary

Good Essays
The subtitle to this book, Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power perfectly describe the contents within. This book discusses in depth the many challenges that Elizabeth the First faced as the first female monarch of England, something that was much contested throughout the entirety of her rule. Her ability to properly rule on account of her gender was a much contested fact, one that continued until the very day of her death. Still, Levin shows through her book that despite the hardships that she faced due to her gender, largely in regards to her decision not to marry and therefore not produce an heir, Elizabeth I was still highly regarded amongst her people, and a faithful ruler to England who was thought of fondly after her death, …show more content…
One in particular, titled First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, written by John Knox in 1558 openly states “‘that it is more then a monstree in nature that a Woman shall reigne and have empire above a Man …. howe abominable, odious, and detestable is all such usurped authoritie’” (Levin 10). The superfluous language used shows the true anger that Knox felt over the idea that a woman should rule. This publication was answered by another (a fact that shows that Knox’s words were well read), this one written by John Aylmer, and summarized by Levin with the following: “Aylmer’s vision of an ideal woman ruler was someone modest, who wore simple dress, listened to advice, and married” (Levin 12). Levin continues by stating that “All these were not what Elizabeth wished to be”, showing the struggles that Elizabeth I was faced with from the very beginning of her rule, as even those who seemed in her favour wished for her to be something other than who she was. A large struggle in regards to Queen Elizabeth’s reign versus her gender was that in regards to marriage. Aylmer spoke of the worry that many held in regards to the Queen marrying in his Harborrow for Trew and Faithful Subjects, wherein he states: “‘Whie may not the woman be the husbandes inferiour in matters of wedlock, and his head in the …show more content…
This becomes the largest argument against Queen Elizabeth when she is first given the rule of England, as it is not seen as possible for her to be a proper ruler on account of her gender. Even Elizabeth herself, in regards to questions of war, was “aware of what she could not do. Her inability to breach the world of the battlefield left her vulnerable to courtiers/adventurers who might be successful in war and heroes at home” (Levin 139). Things such as this confirm the views of gender and sexuality which I held before reading this book. It is clear that there are certain things that women are not meant to do in this time period, that they are thought of as incapable of doing in fact, which confirms my previews ideas that women were thought of as lesser than men in this time. Even the arguments made by Aylmer in regards to Queen Elizabeth marrying, with the idea that she should be the head of the country, but not of her marriage, shows how women were thought of as beneath men. Still, despite these limitations on her gender, Queen Elizabeth I made a place for herself on the throne. She refused to give in to people’s expectations of her, and in doing so blurred many gender lines, going so far sometimes as to consider herself “King” as well as Queen (Levin 121). Queen Elizabeth not only stood up to gendered problems within

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