23 April 2007
Honors Jr. Colloquium
The Voice of QEI
Contradictions in regards to leadership have seemed to target gender and race throughout the course of history. Any female ever given power over men has had her share of ridicule and most of all rejection. Her potential will constantly be questioned and her decisions at times disregarded all because of the preconceived notions about women. Queen Elizabeth I, though responsible for England’s most productive Golden Age, experienced more badgering than the average leader, solely due to the fact that she was a woman. Because of my personal distaste for such assumptions, and because I am a woman who will soon hold a leadership role, I can directly relate.
As a thespian, one learns to express their emotions and personal situations creatively; therefore I chose to present a monologue. In doing so, I attempted to create the voice of the Queen and also to demonstrate the many controversial sides of her as a woman. I chose to include her innocent and tainted personas, her intelligent versus ignorant side, her conceited versus confident perception, as well as the emotional and spontaneous temper that is associated with female leaders. I chose each one of these “characters” because Elizabeth dealt with controversy that at times seemed ridiculous and by combining them into one monologue, the audience is able to witness the lack of reason in these assumptions.
In regards to her innocence, Elizabeth publicly proclaimed her virginity which is continuously debated today. There are speculations of her actually having sex, especially with Robert Dudley, and unannounced pregnancies ultimately making her appear to be a liar and a hypocrite. It is still a question because “…although it is clear that she never married, her status as a lifelong virgin is under considerable doubt…Yet there is strong evidence that she likely had several affairs. Elizabeth certainly had the opportunity: she was constantly surrounded by men and was in a position of power over them” (sparknotes.com). In the film Elizabeth it is obvious that the screenwriter had a strong misbelief in her claim of virginity when he blatantly includes a sex scene. This is not the case, however, in the mini series The Virgin Queen where her fantasy is the closest thing to sexual contact. Though no one will ever know the truth besides the Queen there will always be speculations.
Because of her gender her intelligence was also constantly questioned. It did not matter that Elizabeth was fluent in several languages, or that she was able to use her wit to prove anyone wrong at any given moment due to her knowledge of the world; men still assumed she was incapable of ruling alone. The Queen often allowed men to have a false perception in regards to her “...with a mock modesty that men found appealing- as a person, who, because of her sex, was lacking in those physical and intellectual characteristics bestowed upon men” (Hibbert 66). In doing this she would amuse them with her charm while being completely aware of the matter at hand; therefore maintaining power. This genius way of not revealing her superiority over those who surrounded her, made her truly capable to rule. When it comes to women and leadership, they are always thought to be emotional and spontaneous due to the stereotypes of a woman’s personality, making them less favorable. “There were those among her subjects, in fact, who found it difficult to believe that they were actually ruled by a woman... ‘Oh, Lord! The Queen is a woman!” (Hibbert 66). This lack of trust from her own subjects was a result of their fear of a woman acting off of impulse, and basically not being worthy of the position at all. However, the fact that Elizabeth proved to have one of the most productive reigns in history made their assumptions obsolete..
The Queen’s personality has been portrayed as conceited at times primarily because she was concerned with her public image. It has been noted that Elizabeth was very particular about her image as depicted by artists to the world. This was, at times, taken as a gesture of overconfidence and people perceived her as such because of it. In the Black Adder series, the Queen is seen ridiculing her cousin Mary Queen of Scotts and making a very narcissistic comment implying her beauty which surpassed all others. Public image is important to the way your subjects receive you and the Queen simply wanted to be admired, therefore she was conscious of it at all times. However, because she was in power and a woman at that, her concern was not always understood.
Due to the many assumptions about her she was given so many personalities I felt it would be interesting to portray this theatrically. This would not only help to prove that Elizabeth dealt with a lot as a Queen, but that there was no possible way she could be all of those in one. How can someone be a virgin that has had children, who is inferior yet a great ruler? The contradictions and controversies speak for themselves as nonsense, however, they helped make a pretty interesting theatrical piece.
"A 'Virgin Queen?' Summary." Sparknotes. LLC. 23 Apr. 2007
Elizabeth. Dir. Shekhar Kapur. Perf. Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher
Eccleston, and Joseph Fiennes. Videocassette. 1998.
Hibbert, Christopher. The Virgin Queen. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Preseus Books,
The Black Adder. Perf. Rowan Atkinson, Elspet Gray, Patrick Allen, and Tim McInnery.
"The Virgin Queen" (Mini Series). Dir. Coky Giedrovc. Perf. Anne-Marie Duff, Tara
Fitzgerald, Robert Pugh, and Tom Hardy. 2005.
A Woman of Many Sides
Elizabeth: Royalty and reason surely do not coincide in the world of men. They reason that as a woman I am weak and that royalty should be left in their hands (In the hands of idiots if you ask me, but that’s a personal opinion). You see, being a woman is hard enough, but being a woman with power caused so many bloody problems in my life its ridiculous. Now I have to see this counselor about this little problem I have now…I mean all the stress is
Valley girl: Totally wearing away at me! It’s like I’m losing my freakin’ mind! For one…I mean, being a Queen is like so cool, but these guys are like…buggin ya know? And I don’t understand why anyone would doubt my….what do they call it?Um that word, it’s so big…oh my in-ta-lee-agency….I mean I know how to tie a knot with my tongue:
Elizabeth: It’s so hard being a woman…seriously, who would have thought that at birth I was automatically cursed with such a formidable contingency? It is overt that I posses the resourcefulness to lead and be great! Why would any fool question my brilliance?
Bad Attitude: Those imbeciles have their nerve! PISS! WHAD DOES A LADY HAVE TO DO TO GAIN SOME RESPECT! (sigh) HAND ME SOME CHOCOLATE! I SWEAR I’LL BEHEAD THE NEXT MAN THAT WALKS THROUGH THAT DOOR AND CHALLENGES MY REASON!!! Hold on now...Let’s breath ...one, two, three, woo-sah….my counselor says it helps to do this when “they” start to come out…Don’t worry about who, just know that they come out of nowhere.
Elizabeth: I humbly apologize for a lady should never speak in such a tone…for I am the Queen and a woman with multiple controversies.
Ghetto Girl: Buts like anyone in power, I no longer have privacy…I mean can a woman have a sex life and keep it to herself? NO, of course not!...I know this is random as you all may call it but … dang QE got to get hers too honey…I’m tired of sneaking over to Mr. Dudley house dressed like a man…it’s starting to make me feel like he a little iffy… if you know what I’m talking about…But fa real though….I mean Yea I had a couple abortions, but so what? I ain’t got time fo no chil’ren to be running round my palace putting mud on my mink carpet! You must not know!
Elizabeth: How hard it is to be a woman! I can’t stand that my word is never taken as truth. Why is my impeccability constantly questioned? I don’t get it! Years ago I made the conscious decision to remain pure…not for entertainment, but for modest insurance. If I were to marry, the power I have would be automatically placed into his hands. If I were to bare children and lose them or not procreate the “right” gender I might end up with my mother. If I were honestly just concerned with my secrets being revealed and not more concerned with my throne I would have married Robert ages ago. But as a woman I know I have responsibilities and a country to protect!
Stuck Up/Seductive: GOSH! Wait, you, come here….yes you…what is that? (Referring to portrait) You call this a portrait…of whom? Not I! Definitely not I! I do not look like a dead ostrich! Now either you fix it or I fix you! I can’t believe he would attempt to claim my nose is the size of a boardwalk! I’m appalled! Everyone knows that I am the most beautiful woman in all of England…and most likely the world too! Just give me the chance to see everyone else…because the others here are wretched. I can’t believe they claim the same gender as I….they look like little demons with dresses and man boobs! I’m serious! How can anyone compare to this red-hot bomb shell!?
Elizabeth: Besides…everyone knows that one bad portrait can lead to an even worst level of respect. I’d hate to be considered a narcissist but it is imperative that the masses can witness my beauty from miles away! Not because I necessarily AM beautiful, but because no one wants a Queen, who can’t pass for one in public. It’s so hard to be a woman, perfection is at an impossible level, but if I can appear elegant and graceful by the glimpse of a photograph, my subjects will serve me in a different light.
You know honestly I am sick and tired of being thought stupid
Sick and tired of getting mine and everybody knowing
Sick and tired of being thought a liar
Sick and tired of being thought short tempered
Sick of being known as conceited when I am none of these!
But my confirmation obviously means nothing, all because I am a woman! I am lady Queen Elizabeth I, a woman of many contradictions, buy one unknown truth. I spit on your assumptions!
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