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Summary: Queen Elizabeth L’s Strong Influence on Culture and Literature

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Queen Elizabeth l has influenced English literature and culture of the time tremendously. Elizabeth l lived her life in the English Renaissance that dated from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. The Renaissance was popular with the arts. Queen Elizabeth l was a very powerful queen. Elizabeth l loved the arts and poetry; she even wrote many poems. The queen from the start, was greatly involved with the arts from playing an instrument, writing poems, and going to the theater. With being the Queen of England, Elizabeth l faced many challenges and had many accomplishments. Queen Elizabeth l would go down as one of the most famous, respected women and ruler in the history of time. It wasn’t an easy title for the queen to hold. She was not treated as an equal like many women in the Renaissance. The queen helped serve as a voice by using the arts; and making writing more popular for both genders. Queen Elizabeth l became close with Shakespeare, the most famous playwright, partly because of her. Queen Elizabeth l help aid the arts to succeed, which is why some of the most famous literature back in the Renaissance is still talked about today.

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English literature got it’s amazing background from the English Renaissance. The Renaissance is also known as the “rebirth” era dates from 1485-1660. The Renaissance focused on religion and the afterlife. The Europeans loved the arts and literature (Applebee 277). “Renaissance art was characterized by realism and naturalism. Artists strived to depict people and objects in a true-to-life way” (“Renaissance”). Many artists discovered new techniques and styles to help their art that would later advance and be used in today’s works. Although the arts was a major factor in the Renaissance, it didn’t become as popular until Queen Elizabeth l. The Renaissance was even named after Queen Elizabeth l from her outstanding accomplishments. The Renaissance was named the “Elizabethan Era.” The Elizabeth I era is most famous for its theatre; other forms of art, like music and painting excelled during the era as well. One of Queen Elizabeth’s l most famous contemporaries in the arts was William Shakespeare. He got his fame and help with the arts in the Renaissance era mostly from Elizabeth l. The queen had many accomplishments and opened the eyes for many people in her time, not just for the arts, but for women.

Queen Elizabeth l was born on September 7, 1533 in The Palace of Placentia. Elizabeth l’s parents were Henry Vlll and Anne Boleyn. According to Stanley, both of Elizabeth I’s parents didn’t want a girl; they wanted a boy. When Elizabeth l was just three years old, Henry Vlll had her mother and his own wife executed for treason. Henry Vlll wanted a boy so they would have a male heir to the throne. He began to remarry three more times and had one son with one of the wives. Queen Elizabeth l grew up at the Palace of Hatfield where she had her own governess, servents, and teachers. Many of Elizabeth’s teachers were university scholars, and talked about how Queen Elizabeth l was very intelligent and a hard worker (Stanley). Growing up, the queen fell in love with reading. Elizabeth l learned to read and write in many different languages. The queen learned to play a musical instrument and how to sew. Reading, writing, painting, and dancing was just the beginning for the queen’s love for the arts.

Queen Elizabeth l inherited the throne of England at just 25 years old. The people of England were very excited when Elizabeth l became the Queen. Elizabeth l had very good judgement and was wise. The queen never married, nor had children even though many people advised her too. Elizabeth l was always known as “England’s loving mother” (Stanley). Queen Elizabeth I had many accomplishments at her reign including her biggest one with Europe defeating the Spanish armada. “It brought England a time of peace and security and the full flowering of the Age of Elizabeth” (Stanley).

Queen Elizabeth l showed power and courage for being a woman, which was very hard to do during the Renaissance time. Women were treated like property and degraded. Basic tradition for women was to be more of a servant, clean the house, take care of the children, please the male, and to never speak over men or a higher power. Women were portrayed as weak individuals and didn’t have much say over anything. There were many cases of woman getting raped and abused by men; that was very common for the time. Woman had few rights and were often forced into marriage women were chosen a husband by the women’s male kin in many cases, and did not get to choose who they wanted to marry. “Many women married men they barely knew or had never met” (‘Women in the Renaissance”). For Queen Elizabeth l, the role of being a woman was slightly different and very powerful. One difference for women was they had little power to choose who they got to marry, especially for the Queen. Elizabeth l and other women rulers were expected to get married, and have a male child to continue their dynasty. She was very strong willed and didn’t follow others. The queen got many offers from men to get married. Marrying for Elizabeth l was a hard position, because politics were heavily involved. She couldn’t just marry anyone, so she decided to not marry and not to have any kids at all. Since she never married, she made many people unhappy and happy; overall she gave a new positive perspective on marriage and women’s rights.

There were only a few women in the Renaissance era to be apart of a monarchy; and many people debated if that was politically correct for the time. “The role of women in ‘high’ culture—the elite world of power, ideas, and artistic creation—was significantly expanded in the Renaissance era” (‘Women in the Renaissance”). Queen Elizabeth l helped shape culture and political events, including writing. The humanist movement was growing and some women began to get formal education which they many couldn’t before. When Queen Elizabeth l aided and expressed her love for writing and reading, many women turned to her and followed. “There were hundreds and perhaps thousands of women authors, mainly in Italy, France, and England. After 1500, they were encouraged by the growth of the printing industry, which permitted women authors to deal directly with publishers and bypass male-dominated institutions such as universities” (‘Women in the Renaissance”). With the help of Queen Elizabeth l, women were beginning to gain freedom little by little. For many women, writing gave them a voice. This voice was the beginning stages of modern feminism.

While fighting for her country and being a role model to many women, the queen used her love for the arts to give herself and many others a voice; along with entertainment to everyone. Queen Elizabeth l was involved with poetry and wrote many of her own poems, just like the famous playwright William Shakespeare. One of the queen’s most famous poems was, “On Monsieur’s Departure.” The poem, “On Monsieur’s Departure” is about Queen Elizabeth l being in love with someone who she cannot be with.

Even though Queen Elizabeth l was bending the rules as being a ruler, she was still a woman during that time. The queen still faced many challenges. The famous playwright, William Shakespeare, wrote a play, “Hamlet” which involves two girls, Ophelia and Queen Gertrude. Queen Elizabeth l relates to Ophelia in position to showing weakness. The queen compares to Ophelia because she is a woman who is told not to be with her love, who was Hamlet, just like the Queen forbidden not to be with her love in, “On Monsieur’s Departure.” Elizabeth l states in her poem, “I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,…Or let me live with some more sweet content, Or die and so forget what love ere meant” (Elizabeth l 286). Queen Elizabeth l poem expresses her love for someone, she cannot and never be with. The person in her poem is her true love that she is forbidden to be with. Ophelia’s one true love is Hamlet, and she is forbidden to see him by her father and brother. Polonius (Ophelia’s father) states, “Have you so slander any moment leisure, As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet” (Shakespeare 48-49). When Polonius forbids Ophelia to talk or be with Hamlet, Ophelia responds with, “I shall obey, my lord” (Shakespeare 49). Both Queen Elizabeth l and Ophelia show weakness by not being able to be with whom they want and listening to what others say and think. They also relate because woman at that period had limitations on who they could be with. When it comes to love, Ophelia and Elizabeth l felt hopeless and powerless by not being able to be with their one true love.

Queen Elizabeth l shows weakness, just like any other human being. Elizabeth l shows two major qualities that most people don’t have; independence and compassion. Just like Queen Gertrude many people depend on others and are very selfish. Queen Gertrude is a fiction character in the book, “Hamlet”. Gertrude is portrayed as selfish and dependent on a man. Queen Gertrude is more focused on herself with her lover Claudius, and not her son Hamlet. Gertrude’s husband was murdered dramatically by his brother (Claudius) on whom she marries right after his death. Not long after Hamlet’s father dies, and Gertrude is with Claudius, Gertrude states to Hamlet,”Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not forever with thy vailèd lids Seek for thy noble father in the dust.Thou know’st ’tis common. All that lives must die,Passing through nature to eternity.” (Shakespeare 28). Queen Gertrude is treating her husband’s death as it is normal to be murdered and to just move on and for her son to do the same. She even admitted that her husband’s death and marriage was quick by stating, “His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.” (Shakespeare 85). Queen Gertrude showed little to no compassion for what just happen to her “ex” husband and her son. Gertrude proved that she needed a man to take care of her and the country, because she couldn’t do it alone like Queen Elizabeth l. Queen Elizabeth l shows she is independent and doesn’t need a man, by never marrying. Elizabeth l showed compassion to her family, which was England. Elizabeth l always put England first, and protected the country and their needs. That is why Queen Elizabeth l was also named “England’s loving mother”.

The story, “Hamlet” is written by the famous playwright and poet; William Shakespeare. William was noticed and then became famous, partly because of Queen Elizabeth l. Shakespeare was born April 26,1564. William Shakespeare had a passion for the arts as well as Queen Elizabeth l. “Because the queen and her friends loved drama, new theaters were being built and playwrights like Shakespeare were encouraged to write plays for them” (Stanley). Queen Elizabeth l donated money for many theaters to be built, but some people wanted to close them because they thought it was sinful… the queen never allowed it (Stanley). Elizabeth l had private shows performed for her in the many theaters. There are even traditions done at the Golden Globe theater, still to this day from Queen Elizabeth l. One of the traditions is the Elizabethan reaction, which is to voice your reactions during the play (Applebee 320). The Golden Globe is the most famous theatre associate with William Shakespeare. “William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and at least 200 poems that scholars know of, with most of them labeled is comedies, histories, or tragedies… He is the most-read playwright in the Western Hemisphere, and the English language is littered with quotes and phrases the originated from his works.” (“William Shakespeare”). He is considered one of the greatest writers of all time. Shakespeare’s works are very popular still to this day. Many people continue to read and talk about this brilliant man and his works. If it hadn’t been for Queen Elizabeth l having such a love and passion for the arts to succeed and to thrive, who knows what would have happened to William Shakespeare.

Queen Elizabeth l held the reign for 45 years, and has proved to be one of the most powerful monarchs in English history as well as one of the most powerful women in the world. (Applebee 278). Elizabeth l died peacefully in her sleep March 24, 1603. Elizabeth l lived her life in the English Renaissance that dated from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. Queen Elizabeth l loved the arts and poetry; she even wrote many poems. From the start of her life to the end, her love for the arts never died. She exposed many famous playwrights, poets, and artists. As reigning as the Queen of England, Elizabeth l faced many challenges and had many accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Elizabeth l, Queen. “On Monsieur’s Departure”. The Language of Literature; British Literature,
  2. Edited by Applebee et al, McDougal Littell, 2006, 286.
  3. “Renaissance,” A&E Television Networks, 4 April 2018,
  4. www.history.com/topics/renaissance/renaissance. Accessed 9 May 2019.
  5. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Washington Square Press, 1992.
  6. Stanley, Diane. Peter Vennema. Good Queen Bess The Story of Elizabeth l of England, Four
  7. Winds Press, 1990.
  8. “William Shakespeare, his Life, Works and Influence.” William Shakespeare,
  9. www.williamshakespeare.net. Accessed 9 May 2019.
  10. ‘Women in the Renaissance and Reformation.’ Encyclopedia, 8 May 2019,
  11. www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-
  12. maps/women-renaissance-and-reformation. Accessed 9 May 2019.          

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