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Poetry is one of the most important mediums for a poet to express his or her thoughts to an audience. The subject of the poem, on the other hand, is determined by the intended audience and the context in which the poem is composed. Furthermore, a single poem may have a variety of impacts on its readers or audience. As a result, this paper discusses Anne Bradstreet's poem "In Honour of the High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth." The paper investigates the readers' initial reflections, the social context in which the poem was composed, and the observations that can be obtained from the writers' biography. Also, the paper examines how the author’s works explore a particular theme, and the relevance of this works to the world today. Finally, the paper offers the analyses of how the work has impacted on the perception of the reader.
In this poem, the poet celebrates the excellence of the late Queen Elizabeth. The author is keen to note that many people still bring gifts and honors in honor of her. Using several congratulatory verses the writer hopes that the queen will be pleased.
What the initial through that comes to my mind is the greatness of the queen being praised here. The thoughts of mighty, excellence and most powerful queen comes in my mind along the creative verse of the poem. Additionally, I realize that the poem has broken a long-held norm. For a long time, students rarely study works that have been written about or by women. As such coming across this work motivated me to read and establish what is its content and to whom it was written.
One thing that interests me in this work is the way in which the author praises the late queen. The above is because for a long time women are have been known to be the enemies of their own. However, coming across a work by a woman praising fellow women is one thing that has interested me in this poem. The queen is described as the wisest and most just person of all. The poet writes that “No memories nor volumes can contain the ‘leven Olympiads of her happy reign, who was so good, so just, so learned, so wise, from all the kings on earth she won the prize” (Bradstreet 1967). While this indicates that Queen Elizabeth was a good queen and a just person to all, it also reflects how the poet is proud to write about a fellow woman.
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The poem was written in the year 1643 four decades after the death of Queen Elizabeth who many regarded as a virgin queen. The above is because the queen never married. The time of writing this poem coincides with the Renaissance period. This is a period marked with rebirth of both scientific knowledge and social knowledge (Jordan, 2010). It is within this context that the poet chose to communicate her feminist ideas evident in the praises she hips to the departed queen. It is important to note that during this time, the female consciousness for the first time begun articulating the contributions of the women towards the world civilization. The civilization was in various life aspects such as science, literature, governance, art wars and music (Howard, 2011). To articulate their feminist ideas, the feminist used poetry, biographies, histories, and romances among others. It is within this context that the poem praising the prowess of Queen Elizabeth was written. Perhaps this was in response to the feminist consciousness that sprung during the Renaissance.
From the authors Biograph several insights can be gained. It is important to note that the author comes from rich family and is a mother of the eighth (Howard, 2011). As such even as he writes she recognizes women in her role as a woman, and the struggles in the suffering of life coupled with her Puritan faith. It is against this background that she notes that Queen Elizabeth never married and yet was able to surpass the leadership of not only fellow women leaders but also those of men. Additionally, from the biography, it emerges out that Queen Elizabeth was the last monarch in the Tudor dynasty and that she was the founder of the Church of England. Even with her feminine features, she was able to have a successful foreign policy and defeat the Spanish Armada. As a woman writer, the poet is clear to tell men that women can do more just like the queen did. However, she is keen to put it on that woman of such type are very rare. However, it is worth noting that the poet was not advocating for equality between men and women at this time but was only telling men than women can do better than men as the queen did.
The work explores the theme of the role of women. In writing this poem, the writer explains into great depths all that happens during the reign of the virgin queen and portrays her to the audience as a great matriarch who lived in England (Bradstreet & Macelrath, 2001).While this portrays the queen as a popular leader, to men the queen was a threat. The author notes that “Her Drake came laden home with Spanish gold; her Essex took Cadiz, their Herculean hold” (Bradstreet 1967).In this context, it is clear that while many believe that a powerful woman is a threat, in reality, the same men never did anything to make the queen happy. This is a sign of how women can be strong a fulfilling’s to the needs of others without necessarily receiving the same favor back.
Giving women a chance to rule opens up space for several disputes. This is a long-held tradition that many people have to believe that women cannot adequately rule and control a community (Bradstreet & Macelrath, 2001). However, in reality, women have the ability to ruling than men. The above is evident in the manner in which men brought gold and captured beautiful cities for Queen Elizabeth while she simply ruled as a queen. In a way, the poet contends that women can hold leadership positions and that it is high time that women stood to claim their positions.
This work is relevant to the audience in the world today. The above is based on the idea that the author was articulating women roles which are more akin to the gender in the current society. Many feminist of the current century can borrow a lot about the worth and the ability of women in the society from the great work that Queen Elizabeth did as portrayed in the poem. Just like she was able to defeat even men, it is an indication that women are not inferior and thus denying women political leadership today because of their sex or gender is a fallacy that ought to be discarded. The poem can be used as a driver for policy change and formulation and execution of gender policies in the current century.
The analysis of this work has changed my ideas about women in history. For a long time, I had maintained that women success in public sphere begun in the recent past. However, I have just realized that throughout history women have excelled in the public sphere even more than men. We are unable to recognize their contribution to history due to the biased reading and examination in history. I now believe that the current subordination of women can be changed by examining what happened in history.
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Bradstreet, a (1967). “In Honor of That High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth of Happy Memory”. The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Traditions in English. 3rd. Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Bradstreet, A., & Macelrath, J. R. (1981). The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
Howard, J. E. (2000). Was There a Renaissance Feminism? How to go to your page, 492.
Jordan, C. (1990). Renaissance feminism: literary texts and political models. Cornell University Press.
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