Elizabeth, Tudor, Femininity, Authority
Elizabeth Tudor succeeded to England's throne during a time when misogynist societal ideology questioned the authority of a female monarch. Religious opposition to a woman ruler was based on biblical precedent, which reflected the general attitude that women were inferior to men. Elizabeth's dilemma was reconciling her femininity with her sovereignty, most notably concerning her justification for power, the issue of marriage and succession, and the conflict over the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. The speeches Elizabeth presented to Parliament illuminate her successful solidification of her authority from a feminine gendered position. She established and reinforced her status through figurative language that presented her femininity as favorable to ruling England, ultimately transcending her womanhood to become an incarnation of the state. Elizabeth's speeches reflect her brilliance at fashioning herself through divine and reciprocal imagery, which subsequently redefined English society, elevating her to the head of a male-dominated hierarchy. By establishing her position as second to God, Elizabeth relegated all men to a status beneath hers. Elizabeth's solution to the perceived liability of her gender was to recreate herself through divine imagery that appropriated God's authority as her own. She reinforced her power through a reciprocal relationship with Parliament, evoking the imagery of motherhood to redefine the monarchy as an exchange rather than an absolute rule.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Rohrs, Mark, "Elizabeth Tudor: Reconciling Femininity And Authority" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 383.