AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume3, Number1. February 2019                                    Pp. 53-65

Queen Elizabeth I: The Rhetoric of a Unique Paradoxical Image

Department of Languages and Translation
Faculty of Science and Arts, Rafha
Northern Border University, Arar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Abstract PDF

This study aims at scrutinizing Elizabeth I’s creation of a unique paradoxical image, demonstrating that her self-representation was often contradictory. As an unmarried female sovereign and being cognizant of her vulnerability, she employed a discourse of contradiction, an instrumental political asset to challenge Renaissance gender expectations. The discrepancy in Elizabeth’s rhetoric is evident in her speeches, prayers, and poetry. This research suggests that the process of self- representation was carefully and skillfully attained through the projection of conflicting depictions. It explores three erratic depictions: masculine and feminine, virgin and mother, and divine and human. This project provides evidence that in her struggle with her gender and with the Renaissance culture, Elizabeth’s rhetorical strategy was the creation of paradoxical images, arguing that this clever tactic allowed her to circumvent the issue of gender, legitimize her rule, and craft a unique regal identity. Her approach to leadership was, particularly, effective because she recognized the bonds between representation, gender, authority, and language.

Cite as:

Garrouri, S. S. (2019).  Queen Elizabeth I: The Rhetoric of a Unique Paradoxical Image. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 3 (1), 53-65.


Dr. Sihem Garrouri is an Assistant Professor of English at Northern Border University, Saudi
Arabia. She worked as a lecturer in The Higher Institute of Applied Studies in Humanities of
Sbeitla, Kairouan University, Tunisia. She received her master and PhD from The University of
Caen, Normandy, France. Her research interests include: Renaissance studies, the Elizabethan era,
history of ideas and politics, and gender studies. ORCid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6600-