Elizabeth was the unwanted daughter of King Henry VIII, the king who killed hermother, because she did not bear a son. Elizabeth grew up in a country at war with it selfin the wake of King Henrys religious reforms. Through no fault of her own, Elizabethwas cast aside by her own father; resulting in a lonely childhood and adolescence.
Whileher half sister Mary I was queen, as a young women Elizabeth lived quietly, waiting forher opportunity to succeed. On November. 17, 1558, Mary died and Elizabeth began herreign. During her years as a queen, Elizabeth influenced England greatly, withwhich to this day the Elizabethan age is most often associated. Education was one of Elizabeths greatest influences on England.
Perhaps herinfluence on the importance of education as a young girl and her longed desire to learnhelped her strive for this particular goal. Children in those days began their studies reallyearly in the morning. They were expected to work long hours with out getting distracted. Over the years her tutors wrote glowing reports on her excellent progress. At ten yearsold, Elizabeth was excellent at Latin, and she could speak Italian pretty well. She wasalso taught ancient and modern languages, religion, history, geography, mathematics,science, and music.
She kept up her studies even when she became queen. (Zamoyska10-11) Queen Elizabeth introduced to her country the seeds of freedom, which Englishmen now took for granted. The growing number of printing presses made books morereadily available, because an increasing amount of people, both men and women beganAs a Protestant, Elizabeth influenced her countrys religious decisions. According to Zamoyska: While Mary was still queen of England, Elizabeth did not wantto risk her greatest opportunity of being next in line.
She had a difficult task of having toconform openly to the Catholics, while still keeping support for the Protestants and theyounger generation that looked up to her. (19) Elizabeths first decisions bore on the religious issues. She turned the situationback to the state of things during the last years of Edward VI, allowing the repatriation of the Protestant leaders who had been driven out underMary. She didnt, howeverencourage further changes, and essentially supported the Church of England . . .
Moderate Protestantism had been practiced under Henry VIII , and under Edward VIeven more radical Protestant programs were implemented. . Mary in the other hand, hadrestored the Roman Catholic faith. Elizabeth herself was a moderate Protestant, and hersettlement excluded papal authority, and brought back the Book of Common Prayer. Thishowever did not recognize the demands of the extreme Puritans. During her reign a lot ofpressure continued, but she resisted.
Eventually the Puritans were driven underground. One of her greatest fears was that an alliance of Catholic powers might force her out ofthe throne, and introduce again a Catholic monarch. Eventually Elizabeth send Englishforces to fight on the Protestant side: In the war of religion in France and the revolt of theDutch against Spanish rule. (Academic American Encyclopedia 141)The Spanish Armada was perhaps the greatest threat to Elizabeth. Intending this fleetto secure the deposition of Elizabeth in favor of himself, Philip II of Spain-Thus restoringCatholicism. The Naval battle in the English Channel devasted the Spanish flotilla.
The use of the fire ships, English seaman ship and the Protestant Wind as theEnglish call it, were responsible for the English victory that turned out to be so famous. (Academic American Encyclopedia 142) Before the war, Queen Elizabeth made adramatic speech to her troops at Tulbury. She assured them that she had . . . the heart andstomach of a king and she promised that .
. . we shall shortly have a famous victory overthese enemies of my God, my kingdom, and my people. She wore a gleaming silverarmor and a white velvet dress.
She was not about to barricade herself into one of hercastles in this time of danger, but she was intending to show her country what a queencould be. The war was declared an English victory. Thus the defeat of the Armadastrengthened Elizabeths position as a figure of Protestantism. She was the one who inspite of everything, seemed invincible.
(Bush 87-90)Queen Elizabeth was the most important patron of Elizabethan theater. Her influence was essential protecting the theatrical profession from puritan inspired prohibitions, and her court provided animportant source of income and prestige for leading London actingAccording to Boyce, Elizabeth was fond of William Shakespeares plays. She wasespecially pleased with Falstaff. She was so pleased that she commanded the play wrightto produce a play in which the fat knight falls in love; resulting in the play entitled TheMerry Wives of Windsor. Cranmers eulogy to Elizabeth in Henry VII, delivered by animportant English national hero, without a doubt reflects the nostalgia for her reign byEngland, a decade after her death. Elizabeths reign did not only influence theater, but itliterature as well as art and music(172)Elizabeth influenced the manner in which the court was programmed, mainlybecause of her personality.
According to Rachum . . . she had her way with people andpossessed a high sense of her own authority. She also knew how to take advantage of aparticular circumstance as a single women surrounded by men. (162) Court officials andguests frequently displayed coarse manners, even though 16th century court etiquette wascomplex and highly structured.
. . . The queen herself sometimes slapped her maids andoften swore; a habit that amused the retainers, and disgusted the clergy. (Bush 67) It wasmade clear through Elizabeth that she would not stand any disobedience, patterning herrule after her fathers model of absolute monarchy. Many people compared Elizabethsmethod of ruling like her fathers; but this did not discourage her.
(Bush 37)Her prideful attitude perhaps influenced those that looked up to her or wereattracted to her. Elizabeths most famous qualities was her success in her policies, theglamour in her court and her longed preserved virginity. These qualities could of been theideal life style for those that idolized her. (Academic American Encyclopedia 141) Herphysical features(at that time)were outstanding, plus the fact that she was a proud womenemphasized these qualities even more. Elizabeth at twenty years of age, appeared to be inthe full bloom of her life.
With a good figure, and her tall stature she moved with dignity. She had an olive complexion and reddish brown hair. Her fine eyes and long elegantHands were just another striking feature. (Zamoyska 19)Her marriage decision not only influenced all the men that wanted to marry her,but it also influenced what the whole country thought about her. .
. . the most important issue of her first years of government was the onethat consistently evaded, namely her marriage. . .
public opinion disliked the image of theVirgin Queen. If she were to get married her personal choice would of been the earl ofLeicester. . . after him she had many favorites.
. . (Rachum 162)Although her decision was not to get married, it does not mean that she did nothave any lovers. One rumor of a lover, was a man by the name of Robert Dudley; whoshe appointed as her master of horse. It was no doubt that Elizabeth was attracted to hisenergy, skill at conversation and athletic prowess.
The way he organized courtentertainment delighted her. Soon enough Elizabeths behavior became a scandal. (Bush41-42) Although she had other men in her life, she prided the fact that all her life she wasa virgin, and died a virgin. (Academic American Encyclopedia 142)Even though her days were shortened little by little, the dying queen was still aninfluence of hope to her country. To a world she helped shape, Elizabeth made herfarewells, to an England whose affection she was sure. (Bush 105) At the old age ofseventy it marked the end for of this queens life; at the old age which was very rare todie.
Especially at the time where disease and primitive medical practices doomed manyto an early death. Elizabeth like her father was a firm believer in physical as well asintellectual exercise, which may of contributed to her remarkable life spand. According to an observer: Elizabeths funeral was never forgotten bythose that witnessed it. . .
such a general sighing, groaning, and weeping as that hath notseen or known in the memory of man. (Bush 107)The Elizabethan age is most often associated with Queen Elizabeth I, whoinfluenced England greatly. Her influence on literature, drama, theater, and as a greatpolitical figure who cleverly manipulated and retained power dispite the obstacles,deserves credit for the great achievements during her reign. Bibliography:Elizabeth I, Queen of England Academic American Encyclopedia, 1987Boyce,Charles.
Shakespeare A to Z. New York: Charles Boyce & Roundtable PressInc. 1990Bush,Catherine. Elizabeth I.
New York: Chelsea House Educational communications,Inc. 1986Rachum,Ilan. The Renaissance: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. New York City: MayFlower Books Inc. 1979Zamoyska, Betka. Queen Elizabeth I: United States of America: Cameron & TayleurBooks Ltd.