Queen Elizabeth Essay

1240 Words 5 Pages
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 …show more content…
By contrast, my research will emphasize the imagery that the speech inevitably provokes. For example, how does the speech serve to reinvent the queen’s rule? What ideas of gender does it imply, and how can these be understood in relation to Elizabeth as a female ruler? And how does the speech’s perennial popularity reflect upon our contemporary society? The manner in which Elizabeth applied herself to a war situation provides a stark contrast to her role at court. She could not use her game of courtly love to make an impression at Tilbury; instead, Elizabeth had to assume a new tactic more suitable for the battlefield. Thus, my research will explore how Elizabeth’s speech underscored her masculine powers as opposed to her feminine virtues. In order to revive the events at Tilbury, I will employ several manuscript sources pertaining to Elizabeth’s visit. The account of Leonel Sharp will be emphasized due to its contemporary popularity and persistence in the historical consciousness. It is from Sharp’s account that we get one of Elizabeth’s most famous quotes: “I know I have the bodie, but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and Stomach of a King, and of a King of England too.” In addition, William Leigh’s version from 1612 and James Aske’s epic poem from 1588 will also be studied. Questions regarding the speech’s authenticity and historical accuracy has enjoyed ample discussions among scholars and

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