A Level pre-Easter mock assessments next week, and it struck me that amongst all the resources I had curated or created for my students, we didn’t have a decent synopsis of Edward II, for those who can never quite remember the story, or what happens when.
I had a train journey in front of me. What else could/would I do?
Elizabeth I looms in the background of Shakespeare’s early-to-mid work like the spectre at the feast.
It isn’t solely the question of censorship: she is, I think, the yardstick for every depiction of monarchy, leadership or indeed of strong women. Remember, too, that after a frantic period when the monarch (and ruling religion) changed every few years, she assumed the throne before Shakespeare was born, and was perhaps one of the few constants in that dangerous, fluid age, until she died in 1603.
She was also a real anachronism – a woman ruler in an incredibly patriarchal society. But was she a feminist? Should she be regarded as a feminist icon now?