The Virgin Queen

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The Virgin Queen
“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any Prince of Europe should dare invade the border of my realm.” These famous words were spoken by Queen Elizabeth I while addressing English troops before defeating the Spanish Armada. Queen Elizabeth I is one of the most iconic British rulers and has become a modern feminist hero. The fascination with Queen Elizabeth I has lasted since 1558, when she became the third queen regnant of the British Isles (Ellis). Perhaps society became so fascinated with Queen Elizabeth I because it is hard to decipher who she really was. Being an unmarried woman during the sixteenth century presented many challenges. In order to deal with these challenges Queen Elizabeth had to become an actress to project the character of the Virgin Queen. Queen Elizabeth became a successful ruler by mastering the art of propaganda and playing the role of the Virgin Queen.

Under Queen Elizabeth, England experienced major growth in the arts, military victories, and discovered new lands. Her support of the theatre produced famous play writes such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. It was a time of intellectual and creative expansion. Her 44 year reign has been deemed the British Golden Age. Since her reign, she has been the subject of many films, plays, and literary works (Ellis). During her rule the arts flourished, and she became an actress herself.

The 16th century was characterized as a patriarchal society. While Queen Elizabeth I was certainly not the first female ruler, women were still viewed as incapable of making decisions independent of male counsel. Elizabeth, however, refused to become a figurehead queen. She continued to exercise the full extent of her power through out her reign (Doran). In order to survive as a woman in a man’s world, Queen Elizabeth had to manipulate her public...
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