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Queen ElizabethIn preparing for the new Elizabeth film about to be released and...

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 6, 2007 at 12:02 PM via web

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Queen Elizabeth

In preparing for the new Elizabeth film about to be released and thinking about a character in V Woolf's Night and Day, last night I watched the film Elizabeth with Paltrow made several years ago. I have not studied Elizabeth at all, but what stands out in all popular accounts of her is how she "remade" herself in a very conscious way into an icon, a figure to unite and rule her country. This film shows her doing this to fill the void left in the imaginations of her country after she put the Church of England back on center after her sister Mary tried to reestablish Catholicism as the faith of the country. More specifically, according to the film, Elizabeth understands the force of the Virgin Mary--the "need" for people to continue to believe in such power and purity achieved through renunciation--and so makes herself a virgin (even though she had long lost it in an affair) in attitude and by remaining unmarried.  I must say, the idea reminded me of a Madonna music video--"I'm a Virgin, touched for the very first time."

Does anyone have any solid history on Elizabeth?  In so far that she kept the Spanish Inquisition out of England by defeating the Spanish Armada, enabled a climate that would nurture such talent as Shakespeare, and enriched her country in many ways, she might be in the process of being "reclaimed" as a modern figure of admiration.  Two films in such close proximity ...

 

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 7, 2007 at 1:01 AM (Answer #2)

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Queen Elizabeth

In preparing for the new Elizabeth film about to be released and thinking about a character in V Woolf's Night and Day, last night I watched the film Elizabeth with Paltrow made several years ago. I have not studied Elizabeth at all, but what stands out in all popular accounts of her is how she "remade" herself in a very conscious way into an icon, a figure to unite and rule her country. This film shows her doing this to fill the void left in the imaginations of her country after she put the Church of England back on center after her sister Mary tried to reestablish Catholicism as the faith of the country. More specifically, according to the film, Elizabeth understands the force of the Virgin Mary--the "need" for people to continue to believe in such power and purity achieved through renunciation--and so makes herself a virgin (even though she had long lost it in an affair) in attitude and by remaining unmarried.  I must say, the idea reminded me of a Madonna music video--"I'm a Virgin, touched for the very first time."

Does anyone have any solid history on Elizabeth?  In so far that she kept the Spanish Inquisition out of England by defeating the Spanish Armada, enabled a climate that would nurture such talent as Shakespeare, and enriched her country in many ways, she might be in the process of being "reclaimed" as a modern figure of admiration.  Two films in such close proximity ...

 

I think you mean Cate Blanchett, yes?  And I do believe that is the first time I have ever heard "Madonna" and "Queen Elizabeth" compared!

I do think there is a movement to reclaim this powerful historical figure.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure the motivations are entirely positive.  It seems to me some of the appeal of Elizabeth is to "melt" the Ice Queen, that is, sexualizing her and therefore taking away some of her scary power... A woman who doesn't want to have sex or at least seems to be above the male conquest is threatening. 

What's that, Ms. Wheeler?  Freud holding on Line One?  Tell him to hold on a minute...I've got my mother on the phone...

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 7, 2007 at 8:09 AM (Answer #3)

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I don't know about sexualizing her. If so, if that was the subtext of the film, a text below that (sub-sub??) was to desexualize her afterwards--as though a woman could not be powerful and sexual at the same time. And that,of course, presents the usual counterpart to men, wherein their increased power constructs their increased sexuality.

I always get Blanchett and Paltrow mixed up. 

An interesting aside:  in checking the spelling  here, there is no such word as "desexualize."

 

 

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