Elizabeth was the unwanted daughter of King Henry VIII, the king who killed her mother, because she did not bear a son. Elizabeth grew up in a country at war with it self in the wake of King Henrys religious reforms. Through no fault of her own, Elizabeth was cast aside by her own father; resulting in a lonely childhood and adolescence. While her half sister Mary I was queen, as a young women Elizabeth lived quietly, waiting for her opportunity to succeed. On November. 17, 1558, Mary died and Elizabeth began her reign.
During her years as a queen, Elizabeth influenced England greatly, with hich to this day the Elizabethan age is most often associated. Education was one of Elizabeths greatest influences on England. Perhaps her influence on the importance of education as a young girl and her longed desire to learn helped her strive for this particular goal. Children in those days began their studies really early 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 years old, Elizabeth was excellent at Latin, and she could speak Italian pretty well.
She was also taught ancient and modern languages, religion, history, geography, mathematics, science, and music. She kept up her studies even when she became queen. (Zamoyska 10-11) Queen Elizabeth introduced to her country the seeds of freedom, which English men now took for granted. The growing number of printing presses made books more readily available, because an increasing amount of people, both men and women began As a Protestant, Elizabeth influenced her countrys religious decisions. According to Zamoyska: While Mary was still queen of England, Elizabeth did not want o risk her greatest opportunity of being next in line.
She had a difficult task of having to conform openly to the Catholics, while still keeping support for the Protestants and the younger generation that looked up to her. (19) Elizabeths first decisions bore on the religious issues. She turned the situation back 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, however encourage further changes, and essentially supported the Church of England … Moderate Protestantism had been practiced under Henry VIII , and under Edward VI even more radical Protestant programs were implemented..
Mary in the other hand, had restored the Roman Catholic faith. Elizabeth herself was a moderate Protestant, and her settlement excluded papal authority, and brought back the Book of Common Prayer. This however did not recognize the demands of the extreme Puritans. During her reign a lot of pressure 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 of he throne, and introduce again a Catholic monarch.
Eventually Elizabeth send English forces to fight on the Protestant side: In the war of religion in France and the revolt of the Dutch against Spanish rule. (Academic American Encyclopedia 141) The Spanish Armada was perhaps the greatest threat to Elizabeth. Intending this fleet to secure the deposition of Elizabeth in favor of himself, Philip II of Spain-Thus restoring Catholicism. 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 the English 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 a dramatic speech to her troops at Tulbury. She assured them that she had … the heart and stomach of a king and she promised that … we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, my kingdom, and my people. She wore a gleaming silver armor and a white velvet dress. She was not about to barricade herself into one of her castles in this time of danger, but she was intending to show her country what a queen ould be. The war was declared an English victory. Thus the defeat of the Armada strengthened Elizabeths position as a figure of Protestantism.
She was the one who in spite 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 an important source of income and prestige for leading London acting According to Boyce, Elizabeth was fond of William Shakespeares plays. She was especially pleased with Falstaff. She was so pleased that she commanded the play wright to produce a play in which the fat knight falls in love; resulting in the play entitled The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Cranmers eulogy to Elizabeth in Henry VII, delivered by an important English national hero, without a doubt reflects the nostalgia for her reign by England, a decade after her death. Elizabeths reign did not only influence theater, but it literature as well as art and music(172) Elizabeth influenced the manner in which the court was programmed, mainly because of her personality. According to Rachum … she had her way with people and ossessed a high sense of her own authority.
She also knew how to take advantage of a particular circumstance as a single women surrounded by men. 162) Court officials and guests frequently displayed coarse manners, even though 16th century court etiquette was complex and highly structured. … The queen herself sometimes slapped her maids and often swore; a habit that amused the retainers, and disgusted the clergy. (Bush 67) It was made clear through Elizabeth that she would not stand any disobedience, patterning her rule after her fathers model of absolute monarchy. Many people compared Elizabeths ethod of ruling like her fathers; but this did not discourage her.
Her prideful attitude perhaps influenced those that looked up to her or were attracted to her. Elizabeths most famous qualities was her success in her policies, the glamour in her court and her longed preserved virginity. These qualities could of been the ideal life style for those that idolized her. (Academic American Encyclopedia 141) Her physical features(at that time)were outstanding, plus the fact that she was a proud women emphasized these qualities even more. Elizabeth at twenty years of age, appeared to be in he 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 elegant Hands 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 one that consistently evaded, namely her marriage… public opinion disliked the image of the Virgin Queen.
If she were to get married her personal choice would of been the earl of Leicester… after him she had many favorites… (Rachum 162) Although her decision was not to get married, it does not mean that she did not have any lovers. One rumor of a lover, was a man by the name of Robert Dudley; who she appointed as her master of horse. It was no doubt that Elizabeth was attracted to his energy, skill at conversation and athletic prowess. The way he organized court entertainment delighted her.
Soon enough Elizabeths behavior became a scandal. (Bush 41-42) Although she had other men in her life, she prided the fact that all her life she was virgin, and died a virgin. Academic American Encyclopedia 142) Even though her days were shortened little by little, the dying queen was still an influence of hope to her country. To a world she helped shape, Elizabeth made her farewells, to an England whose affection she was sure. (Bush 105) At the old age of seventy it marked the end for of this queens life; at the old age which was very rare to die. Especially at the time where disease and primitive medical practices doomed many to an early death. Elizabeth like her father was a firm believer in physical as well as ntellectual exercise, which may of contributed to her remarkable life spand.
According to an observer: Elizabeths funeral was never forgotten by those that witnessed it… such a general sighing, groaning, and weeping as that hath not seen or known in the memory of man. (Bush 107) The Elizabethan age is most often associated with Queen Elizabeth I, who influenced England greatly. Her influence on literature, drama, theater, and as a great political figure who cleverly manipulated and retained power dispite the obstacles, deserves credit for the great achievements during her reign.