Elizabeth 11 Astraea Essay

1796 Words 8 Pages
As a female ruler and Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I had to prove herself worthy of her throne throughout her entire reign. She inherited from her predecessors a kingdom divided over religious matters, and she had to impose Protestantism as the kingdom 's official religion.1 Her failure to marry and the uncertainty of her succession proved to be additional challenges to her reign.2 Under such circumstances, she had to carefully construct her royal image, to ensure her subjects ' loyalty. As the availability and circulation of media reached an unprecedented peak, the need to control her image was pressing.3 Elizabeth tried to construct her image and legitimize her monarchy through different means, mainly through official portraiture, her writings, …show more content…
To do so, she needed to convince her subjects of her leadership qualities as a Renaissance prince. One of the most common representations of Elizabeth throughout her reign is as Astraea, who embodied the promise of a return to the Golden Age.11 Astraea was an Ancient Greek mythological figure and a familiar character of Classical literature, and both Virgil and Ovid related her legend.12 Astraea was believed to be the last immortal who fled the Earth during the Iron Age, the most corrupted of the four ages described by Ovid. Astraea 's return to Earth was therefore thought to signify the beginning of a new cycle. Elizabeth thus appeared as a mythological character descended on Earth to promise a better future to her subjects.13 Comparisons with classical figures were common in the Renaissance, and Elizabeth wanted to establish herself as a perfect Renaissance prince, mighty and learned.14 Presenting Elizabeth as Astraea was a political decision, motivated more by a religious agenda than a cultural one, although it was for Elizabeth a way to demonstrate both aspects of herself, a Protestant queen and a scholar. The meaning of this comparison was that the divided kingdom would finally be reunited under one religion. This union would be made possible by one woman, Elizabeth/Astraea who in this comparison, endorsed some characteristics of the Virgin Mary, therefore heralding the arrival of Christ in

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