Lanique Ruffin


HONOR 3002

Dr. Morgan-Curtis





                        The Influence of Elizabeth I


            Elizabeth I is a rather interesting character in that her rule and reign becomes an age of peace or the Golden Age for England and her weary subjects. Elizabeth I, being the person that she is exemplifies several things as a rule. However, for the sake of the prompt, the vast possibilities will be narrowed to three: Elizabeth is a woman, never married, and defies tradition. One might think that these three relate and in fact intermix; however all three in fact stand alone and represent three different and similar stages of possession and uniqueness.

            Elizabeth is a woman! In the text, The Virgin Queen by Hibbert, there is a title of one of the chapters, “Oh Lord! The Queen is a Woman!” Within this chapter, the significance of Elizabeth being a woman is fairly argued and argued with an air of dissatisfaction. Within her period, being a woman represented the weakest human being on the face of the earth ruling those men that were so strong. In England’s eyes she could rule sovereignty because it was assumed her position of King and Queen was given to her by God. However by the people she was viewed as incapable of making sound decisions, she was too emotional, etc. However, she was in power whether her subjects liked it or not, and she wielded her power gracefully. Because we still see male dominance in our government in 2007, as well as sex or gender inequality in traditional corporate America, we continue to stand in awe of Elizabeth. Of course gender discrimination was much worse during her time, but didn’t she rule for a long peacefully and successful time? When we look at President Bush today and this unneeded and stupid war America is involved in, my thoughts run to Hilary Clinton and how for the first time America might get its own ‘Elizabeth”. These are exciting times because the argument between sexes has been males are stronger and less emotional than females, so they can rule better. However, the female is saying, “I’ve already proven myself to be capable of leading great nations, and yourself since every man has a mother.” This is one of the points of popularity Elizabeth has gained from a more feminist point of view. Woman are like men and have proven they to be better suited to roles of power, it is just that we haven’t been given as many chances as men to rule. This is what Elizabeth embodies: the great female ruler, who in spite of all her kingdom’s beliefs, still outsmarted those male counselors of hers and made her rule unique to those that had gone before and after her. Elizabeth had not only ruled, but she became a legacy.

            Elizabeth was not only a woman, but she went so far as to have sole authority in her hands. She did not marry!!! For all those woman out there who cannot survive without a man by their side, take heed to Elizabeth. It was custom, it was the norm, and in fact it was disgraceful for a woman during Elizabeth’s age to not marry. What was worse was having a royal unmarried woman! This just totally defied the standards set for the “proper” English setup. Once again we see the mirror image of English royal standards in our government today. In the movie, Elizabeth  and Hibbert’s text, it is easy to see the controversy surrounding the issue of Elizabeth’s marriage. The issue continued for more than half of her rule and way after her ‘body’ was eligible for marriage. If we think of the ‘correct’ family unit, we think of the husband, wife, and her two kids, specifically a boy and girl, with the boy being the oldest. Today in politics this is still a “requirement” of the president of the United States! How would he (much less she) be looked at if he were single? So Elizabeth embodied the powerful distinction of gender and proved a female can indeed rule nations and be successful. She also proved that all this can be done without the “help” or input of a man. Therefore, the female now has sole authority. Based on how woman are viewed today, I can understand why we are still admiring Elizabeth. Third Elizabeth defied tradition. Elizabeth embodied direct rebellion to the traditional royal family. She had love affairs (with our without sex? We don’t know) she ruled sovereignty as a female without a husband. She kept her reputation for over two years! (Much more than what any of our president’s could do) she was highly favored in her subject’s eyes (definitely not Bush material) and she ruled during the most tremulous years of England with peace and enlightenment. Elizabeth is the reason why tradition should be broken. Just like in Hibbert’s text and the Elizabeth Icon 1603-2003, Elizabeth repeatedly showed her charisma as a woman and intelligence that surpassed many male Yale graduates!

            All in all, Elizabeth is still popular because she did not succumb to the norm. She was unique and a spark of light in the shady areas of politics.

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