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E211 Fall 2010 Students' Blog

Carrie Rael on Queen Elizabeth I's Letters and Speeches

Published by admin_main on Wed 29 Sep, 2010

1. Discuss the sense of Elizabeth's diplomatic and rhetorical skills that emerges from your reading of any of the prose selections. How does Elizabeth represent herself (i.e. her motives and character) and her regard for her subjects?

Elizabeth portrays herself in her writings as elegant and powerful. In "A Speech to a Joint Delegation of Lords and Commons" she begins her speech with series of rhetorical questions such as "Is not my kingdom here"(692) "How have I governed since my reign?" These rhetorical questions give the audience a true sense of authority. She persuades the audience to view her as a capable leader regardless of her gender or marital status. She directly addresses the issue of her unwedded status in "A Speech to a Joint Delegation of Lords and Commons" when she states "I say again I will marry as soon as I can conveniently, if God take not him away with whom I mind to marry, or myself, or else some other great let happen." She eases her audience's tensions about the topic. By bringing up God in her speech she shows her subjects that she is a religious and good woman. She also persuades the audience to believe that it has not been God's will for her to marry, yet her unwedded status is not her fault.

In her speech to the troops at Tilbury, she rouses her men by instilling confidence in her as their leader and in their country when she states, "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too." (700). In her writings Elizabeth presents herself as a capable leader who is there to serve her people. She presents herself as their subjects rather than subjugating her people to tyranny. This is seen in "The Golden Speech" when she states, "And as I am that person still, yet under God, hath delivered you, so I trust, by the almighty power of God, that I shall be His instrument to preserve you from envy, peril, dishonor, shame, tyranny, and oppression, partly by means of your intended helps, which we take very acceptable because it manifesteth the largeness of your loves and loyalties unto your sovereign." (701) In this section she is manipulating her listeners to believe that she was sent as tool from God to protect England, and as long as they love God so they must love the decision to have Elizabeth rule England. She presents herself as a gift from God to serve the people of England. She is humble yet assertive in her presentation of herself to her subjects. She shows a great deal of love for her subjects and her country as seen when she states, "For above all earthly treasures I esteem my people's love, more than which I desire not merit." (702). Her love for her country and her subjects, along with her assertive tone, is in part what helped make Elizabeth a great leader and writer.

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