Speech to the Troops at Tilbury

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Elizabeth Tudor, who later became Elizabeth I or England, was born on September 7, 1533 at Greenwich Palace. She was the second daughter of King Henry VII, a ruler engrossed with the requirement of a male heir. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry's six wives. When Elizabeth was merely two years old, her father, in desperation of a male heir and upset had Anne executed. Queen Elizabeth I became the ruler of England at the age of twenty-five. Her coronation took place on January 15, 1559. Elizabeth was left the task of repairing a kingdom that her sister had left a divided mess. Elizabeth soon restored the Protestant Church in England and restored the declining currency. By the 1580's, Elizabeth had descended into disfavor with Philip II of Spain. She was Protestant and had also refused his marriage proposal years before. Elizabeth continuously attempted to negotiate her way to peace without conflict. However, in the summer of 1588, Philip II of Spain sent his enormous fleet against the English nation. In an effort to rally the troops at Tilbury, Elizabeth made of the most famous speeches of her career. Through their superior tactics, ship design, and good fortune, the English defeated the Spanish Armada. The conflict with the Spanish Armada represented the summit of a long and drawn out struggle among Protestant England and Catholic Spain. England became very prosperous during the second half of Elizabeth's time in power. Elizabeth's reign as Queen of England occurred during one of the most constructive periods in English history. Literature began to flourish during her reign through the works of playwrights like Edmund Spenser, poets like Christopher Marlowe, and men of letters such as Francis Bacon. William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers in English history, also was a major player in the evolution of English literature. Elizabeth also became a character within literary text of that era. Shakespeare's, A Midsummer Night's Dream, contained many references to Queen Elizabeth and her court. Spenser also referred to Queen Elizabeth in many of his poems including the Faerie Queene. Her reign also saw the likes of Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake who were key components in the expansion of English influence into the New World. Elizabeth's influence was not only on literature but also on that of education and fashion. Due to her ongoing search for knowledge and her extravagant dress these issues were brought to the forefront of English culture. Queen Elizabeth was not only an influence on literature but was also a major contributor to the movement. She was very accomplished in writing letters, verse translation, poetry, as well as delivering speeches. Some of her poems include the Doubt of Future Foes, All Human Kind on Earth, and On Monsieur's Departure. The more than one hundred letters that she wrote were to people like King Edward VI, Mary, Queen of Scots, and to Queen Catherine. Elizabeth also had a hand in translation pieces from their original language, including the Bible. Queen Elizabeth gave many speeches during her time of empowerment but none were more famous than that of the Speech to the English Troops at Tilbury. This particular speech was given on August 8, 1588 as the English prepared for an invasion by King Philip of Spain and his Spanish Armada. The speech begins with the opening "My loving people" (Benton, pg. 90). The opening did not begin with "citizens of England," or "members of the English army," rather it opened with a connection on more of a personal level. She immediately shows the troops that she is with them during this time of devastation. She goes on to say that some people have tried to resist against fighting against the Spanish Armada. She believes that allowing Spain to overtake England would be a treasonous act and that she will not live to see the day that their will be distrust amongst the empire of England. The next few lines of the...
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