War, Soldiers, and High Politics under Elizabeth I

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82, Page: 82-102

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Malcolm Smuts; D. J. B. Trim
Oxford University Press (OUP); Oxford University Press
Literature; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism; European Languages and Societies; Literature in English, British Isles; Medieval Studies; Military, War, and Peace
book chapter description
Recent scholarship has paid little attention to the ways in which royal policies might potentially be modified or challenged by those entrusted with their implementation, especially during wartime. Yet Shakespeare’s drama emerged in an era of war, in which soldiers shaped policy to an unusual degree, and Shakespeare and contemporary dramatists were deeply interested in the participation of soldiers in high politics. This paper explores that interest. It focuses on the efforts of Sir John Norreys to re-cast Elizabeth I’s aid to the Dutch Revolt into an explicitly Calvinist, anti-Catholic war (1578–86), and Sir Francis Vere’s achievement of unique authority and influence, in both England and the Netherlands, as a result of his being trusted by both the English and Dutch governments to command troops and promote their policies to their allies.