Elizabeth I – How successfully did she tackle the problems of her reign?
Elizabeth I, which was known to be the girl who should never be queen, ascended the throne at an urgent situation. During this time, she had to deal with a wide range of problems which include sexism, religion, marriage, and countries attacking. These problems all had a link to religion it was a major part of their culture at that time. Overall, she dealt with these problems quite successfully – most of those problems as they were all solved and she proved that women could also do what men could; or even better.
Elizabeth faced the problem of developing a powerful image as she’s physically small – people thought she didn’t have enough power to rule the country; especially when she first ascended her throne. Therefore, the artists painted Elizabeth to have the qualities of young, powerful, knowledgeable and rich. Also, they painted her “big” to make her seem powerful and wise and she looked young. Personally, she’s largely successful for spreading an image that would let her subjects believe her power e.g. in the Rainbow Portrait she’s 67 but looked like 40. Also, many paintings had a message in it; “Non Sine Sole Iris” meant she’s the Sun and England’s the Rainbow – England couldn’t be maintained without Elizabeth.
Marriage was a difficult choice for Elizabeth as it was an important factor for whom she should marry as it effects the destiny of her country e.g. if it was Pillip II he’d certainly take over due to his power. But, if Elizabeth didn’t get married, she’s also in an unsafe situation as she might have an accident (there are many Catholic plotters) and she didn’t have an heir, England would become a mess and would fall into others’ hands. What Elizabeth did was very risky because she might be killed any second if she’s slightly unluckier but, not marrying turns out to be the “only option” so actually she dealt with it fairly successfully. Also, in terms of religion, English Catholics wanted her to marry Phillip II or Duke of Alençon as they’re Catholics.
Religion was one of the biggest issues of all as it has a connection with other problems, which made England divide into two: Protestantism and Catholicism. Elizabeth was very successful to the religious conflicts at that time because she tried to make a “middle way” – to keep both Protestants and Catholics. Although the country was mainly under a Protestant way (as Elizabeth is Protestant), she still kept some Catholic aspects e.g. didn’t prosecute ordinary Catholics; she wanted to make religion a personal thing and it wasn’t something that you’d need to be forced to believe in. Also, she used a phrase: “I would not open windows into men’s souls”, which means she wouldn’t look through you to see if you’re a Protestant or Catholic; you could just keep it to yourself.
If Mary Queen of Scots never existed, life would be easier for Elizabeth as she’s the next English heir in line if Elizabeth had descended the throne. When she escaped from Scotland and arrived at England, it brought Elizabeth into an even more crucial position. Although Mary staying at England might cause the English Catholics wanting her to replace Elizabeth; but this is the only choice. After several of plots, Elizabeth decided carefully not to execute her and this was very clever (entirely successful) because she had been very thoughtful and considerate. But soon Elizabeth was convinced that she couldn’t let Mary live any longer; one more day she is alive, one more day Elizabeth and England is in danger.
The Spanish Armada is the fight between Spain and England; Spain was a very strong country which was another dilemma for Elizabeth. The execution of Mary Queen of Scots was the excuse for Pillip II to start war. Though the English ships were smaller and fewer than those opposed to them, they were better built and better manned; their skillful use of artillery gave them a great advantage. Also, one of the most important factors for battles (especially in the water) is the weather. On the day, there came a terrible storm and many Spanish ships were damaged. This suggests that even God was on Elizabeth’s side and wanted her to win; Elizabeth was also entirely successful as it proved that she was a lucky queen.
Elizabeth was mostly successful in tackling the problems of her reign because she had overcome all her problems. I think the key which led Elizabeth to success was how carefully and thoughtfully she was when she
dealt with her problems. Elizabeth also had good advisors and she began to develop a clear mind as she becomes more confident in making decisions. Thus, her reign was sometimes called a golden age as Elizabeth was seen and known as a strong, successful queen.