Elizabeth I Essay, Research Paper
The human desires of greed, wealth, and power have been embedded into the world’s history as political figures have led invasions of other countries countless numbers of times. Whether invaded or being invaded, a country requires strong and capable leaders to see them through this difficult time. In 1588, Queen Elizabeth I of England gave a motivational speech to her troops using the rhetorical devices of diction, imagery, and sentence structure to motivate her subjects positively and to instill the fear of the pending invasion in their hearts.
The queen uses positive diction, sentence structure, and imagery in her effort to motivate her people to defend their country from their Spanish invaders. She uses diction to praise and motivate her subjects. The queen refers to her people as “faithful” and “loving,” praising their “loyal[ty]” and “goodwill.” These positive words allow her subjects to see her as a caring, kind leader whose praise urges them to fight for their country. She also uses the words “noble” and “worthy” to describe her people’s task of protecting their country against invasion. The use of such praising words makes her people see the task as important, and it will instill a sense of duty in their hearts to protect their kingdom. The queen further motivates her people by implementing the use of sentence structure. In the beginning of her speech, she says, “we have been persuaded.” In the second half of her first sentence, she says, “I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.” Her use of the royal “we” and then her transition to “I” symbolizes her descent from the throne literally to speak to her troops on the field and figuratively by referring to herself as I. This will encourage the troops to see her as a fellow Englishman and not a distant queen. The queen also uses sentence structure when she says, “I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder,” and, “By your obedience.., by your concord.., and your valor.., we shall shortly have a famous victory.” She speaks listing three things at a time, giving her speech rhythm. The mention of her three positions shows her as generous and powerful, causing her troops to respect and admire her. The listing of the three characteristics of her troops shows her faith in them and infuses in them a determination not to let her down, thus motivating the troops to defend their homeland. The queen uses imagery as well to motivate her people. She describes herself as having “the body of a weak and feeble woman,” but having “the heart and stomach of a king.” By providing them with a mental image, she addresses their concerns of her ability to lead them to victory as she assures them that her strength may not be physical but instead, mental, emotional, and spiritual, thus encouraging them to trust in her authority. She also claims that she will “lay down” for the sake of her country. By creating the image of her physically lying down in the name of her country’s pride, the queen convinced her troops of her dedication to the battle.
The queen also uses diction, sentence structure, and imagery with negative connotations in her effort to motivate her people to defend their country from their Spanish invaders. Using the device of diction, she refers to their invaders as “enemies.” The use of the word “enemies” serves to unite the people in the defense of their country. Its use also personifies the Spanish and encourages the people to fight more wholeheartedly against “enemies.” She also says that she was warned of the “treachery” of her people, but she refuses to “distrust” her people. The use of these words portrays the queen as trusting her people and believing in the goodness of their character. The subjects thus feel more warmly towards her and towards the battle for their country. The queen also implements the use of diction when she describes her “scorn” for anyone who dares to invade her country. Her “scorn” reflects her pride for her kingdom, and therefore calls upon her subjects to feel the same pride and loyalty she feels. Queen Elizabeth uses sentence structure as well to motivate her people. She repeats the phrase “my God, my kingdom, and my people.” Its repetition and use reiterates what her people must strive to protect from the invaders. It also appeals to the religion, pride, and loyalty of her subjects, further connecting the strength of their interests to the threat of the invasion and the importance of fighting the invaders. It also reminds them of what they will lose if they fail, thus encouraging the troops to fight fiercely. The queen also uses imagery to instill fear in the hearts of her subjects. She says, “I myself will take up arms.” This phrase creates an image of the queen actually picking up a weapon and marching into battle with her troops. The importance of this image is that it encourages the troops to pledge their loyalty to their queen who seems willing to fight alongside them. The queen also scorns those who “dare to invade the boarders of my [the queen's] realm.” This creates an image of the pending invasion in the minds of her people. With a vivid portrait of the upcoming battles, her subjects realize that they must be brave and loyal in order to defend their country. Perhaps the most vivid image is that of the “heat of battle.” A fire-swept battlefield comes into mind, and the fear of such a battle will motivate the queen’s subjects to protect themselves from such future battles.
Clearly, the queen, using the rhetorical devices of diction, imagery, and sentence structure, was able to motivate her subjects positively and to instill the fear of the pending invasion in their hearts. Her concise but powerful speech was exactly what her troops needed to hear before marching to battle. The queen with her speech secured their loyalty and trust, and her oratory helped unify her people in their time of crisis.