An Analysis of Queen Elizabeth’s Speech to England’s Troops

Throughout history, speeches have been used as effective means for expressing yourself to the masses. Leaders on all levels have come to appreciate the fact that a well crafted speech can be a powerful agent when trying to evoke particular sentiments in people.

Queen Elizabeth I of England proved to be a powerful and compelling orator in her speech to her troops as they prepared to take up arms against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

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In this paper, I shall review her speech with the aim of deducing the main arguments that the queen advanced. Her feelings towards her audience shall be inferred based on her words. The queen’s ideas and beliefs will also be highlighted from the contents of the speech.

This speech is addressed to the English troops at the battle field. The queen understands the sacrifice that the troops are about to make for their country and for this she proclaims them noble and worthy subjects. The apparent reason for the queen’s speech is to motivate her troops in the face of the imminent conflict with the Spaniards.

The queen aims to convince the troops that their fight is for a worthy cause and that their noble action of defending their country will not go unnoticed by the queen and the people of England. The queen empathizes with the soldiers and concedes that despite there being lives lost in the heat of the battle, England will be safe.

The battle that England faces is against Spain, an equally matched opponent at that point in time. The queen asserts that while some may view surrendering to Spain as the safe means, this would be equivalent to treachery to the motherland. By making such a strong declaration, the queen aims to appeal to the patriotism of the soldiers. She further states that she is also ready and willing to die in battle for the kingdom of England together with her soldiers should she be called upon to do so.

From Elizabeth’s words, we can tell with certainty that she is a patriot at heart and the honor of her country is of great importance to her. It is this same values that she intends to impart onto the soldiers for it is on them that the fate of England will lie.

It is also apparent that Elizabeth believes that her country’s troops are not only a match for the Spaniards but that they have the capability of conquering the Spanish forces in battle. With this conviction, she predicts a short lived confrontation in which England emerges victorious.

The speech suggests that there exists some religious animosity between the two warring nations. One can deduce from the reference to the Spanish forces by the queen as “enemies of my God” that there were religious undertones that surrounded the conflict. Bearing in mind that the Spanish people were the leading Catholic power while England had embraced the Protestant sect, it is evident that the two facets of the Christian religion were at loggerheads.

The light in which women were viewed during this period in history can also be learnt from this speech. The queen contends that she has but the “body of a weak and feeble woman.” This indicates that the women in England were viewed as weak people who needed protecting. Her declaration that she is willing to take up a sword and fight for the country is as a last resort; that is if her nation should be invaded. The queen is certain that her troops would not let the situation degenerate to such an extent.

This paper set out to analyze the speech by Queen Elizabeth so as to discover the various ideas advanced through the speech. It has been identified that this speech was mainly aimed at motivating England’s troops before they faced the Spanish forces in battle. However, the analysis provided in this paper demonstrates that religious differences also played a part in the conflict between Spain and England.


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