Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation by Susan Frye

By Susan Frye

Elizabeth I might be the main obvious lady in early smooth Europe, but little cognizance has been paid to what she acknowledged concerning the problems of creating her strength in a patriarchal society. This revisionist research examines her fight for authority in the course of the illustration of her girl physique. in line with numerous extant historic and literary fabrics, Frye's interpretation specializes in 3 representational crises spaced fifteen years aside: the London coronation of 1559, the Kenilworth entertainments of 1575, and the e-book of The Faerie Queene in 1590. In methods which different with social classification and old condition, the London retailers, the participants of the Protestant faction, courtly artists, and crafty courtiers all sought to stabilize their very own gendered identities by means of developing the queen in the "natural" definitions of the female as passive and vulnerable. Elizabeth fought again, appearing as a discursive agent by means of crossing, and hence disrupting, those definitions. She and people heavily pointed out along with her pursuits developed a few concepts by which to specific her political keep watch over by way of the possession of her physique, together with her intricate iconography and a mythic biography upon which such a lot debts of Elizabeth's existence were dependent. The extra authoritative her picture turned, the extra vigorously it was once contested in a strategy which this examine examines and consciously perpetuates.

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In mid-January 1559, Elizabeth's entry—in its unrecoverable form as it was publicly performed, as well as in the printed version that appeared just eight days after the entry—existed to embody the position of the most powerful London citizens through the allegorized figure of Elizabeth. Sponsors, Authors, and Meaning in the Entries of Elizabeth and James The Queen's Majesty's Passage derived its contemporary authority from the Court of Aldermen, the "keystone of the City's constitution" that consisted of an elected member from each of twenty-six city wards.

Other devices included a representation of Mary's and Philip's genealogies and an arch paid for by the grateful Hanseatic League. The overt expression of London's doubts about the marriage appeared in a pageant in the commercial center of Cheapside presenting Philip as Orpheus (a clear warning to one whose power might prove deadly to himself) and in a castle erected in Fleet Street where Veritas, like the figure of Henry VIII, held a book titled Verbum dei. 28 The entertainments presented for Elizabeth were no less pointed than those for her sister and her new husband.

The Passage grants her only two brief moments of self-representation: her prayer and her response to the city's gift of a purse of gold. The prayer, the single scene that she does not share with the merchants, takes place outside the city gates in front of the Tower and is carefully wrapped in the text's explanation that it forms one of two "principall sygnes" (the other is her acceptance of the city's Bible) that "she in all doinges doth shew herself most mindful of [God's] goodnes and mercie shewed unto her" (E4).

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