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Queen Elizabeth I: Representations of the Virgin Queen

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

John N. King*
The Ohio State University


It is commonly acknowledged that although Elizabeth I vowed herself to a life of perpetual virginity, she entered into a symbolic marriage with England as her husband. In this way she could receive the" adulation of her subjects as the universal object of a Petrarchan religion of love, one that pervaded ballads, pageants, and dramatic entertainments. Scholars claim that she was able to convert her unprecedented weakness as a celibate queen into a powerful propagandistic claim that she sacrificed personal interests in the name of public service.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 1990

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