Saturday, November 18, 2006

"Elizabeth" movie review

1. There was friction between Elizabeth and Mary, in part, because of their different religions (Mary being Catholic and Elizabeth being Protestant). Mary also seemed to contest Elizabeth’s throne as Henry’s marriage to Ann Boleyn was not sanctioned by Mary’s catholic church.

2. The Anglican church was utilized to quiet the fighting between Catholics and Protestants (a dispute that still rages to some extent in the Europe of today). As ruler, Elizabeth could control this body. Although she seemed somewhat neutral at times in matters of religion, the Anglican church was a mechanism that could bring her people closer together. Compared to modern American politics, where religion seems to divide more than unite, this was an interesting aspect of the story.

3. One site I researched lists as many as 34 suitors who were interested in Elizabeth’s hand in her lifetime -
However, in the movie the King of Spain and the Duke of Anjou (of France) are the primary suitors. Elizabeth’s lover Robert Dudley can also be considered to be courting her, however he can never attain her hand because he is not considered fit to marry a queen due to social ranking. Spain and France had a vested interest in marrying into the English throne for geo-political and religious reasons.

4. Her lover, Robert Dudley, is not killed since he is the only person who originally courted her sincerely and did not conspire to attain power through courting her as others did.

5. “Virgin” did not have the same meaning in the 1500s as it does today. Obviously she had been with Robert Dudley, but “virgin” referred to her being unmarried. She decides to stay unmarried to gain favor with her subjects, and instead “marries herself” to her country. This is significant because even though there are disagreements between Catholic and Protestant religions, the pure Virgin Mary is still regarded as sacred in both. She takes on the pure white, haloed appearance of the Virgin Mary as part of her devotion to the role of England’s wife and mother.

6. The movie shows Elizabeth’s growth from a girl who is ruled by her heart, lacking the sometimes cold logic needed for strong leadership, into a woman respected by her countrymen who unifies her country (as best it can be). She represents a pivotal shift in England’s history, and deserves to be considered one of England’s most influential queens.

7. From ‘s description of Elizabeth as an individual: “Elizabeth had a rigorous education. She was fluent in six languages, including Latin, Greek, French, and Italian. She once remarked to an Ambassador that she knew many languages better than her own. She was taught theology, history, philosophy, sewing, and rhetoric. She also loved such activities as hunting, riding, dancing, and playing. As a girl, she was often thought of as very serious, and she had inherited characteristics of both her mother and father such as cleverness and firmness. Elizabeth was incredibly intelligent, and admired her tutor Ascham, who remarked that she had the intelligence of a man, for it was her memory and intellect that distinguished her above others, men and women alike.”
With an education and level of personal experience like this, she was destined to change her country in a time when women were not given equal treatment, not even royals. When she learns to set her emotions aside to rule with her intellect, she becomes a powerful person capable of flushing out her would be conspirators. She also refuses a groom king, and shows that she can rule on her own without the assistance of a man. Her ability to do these things undoubtedly showed England the power women possessed, and paved the way for generations of women after to be respected in their rule.


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