Elizabeth: An Example Of Dramatic License.
The film Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur, was released in the US in November of 1998. It was based on the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England from 1558 to 1603. The director and producer of this film uses their dramatic license liberally throughout the entire motion picture and if the moviegoer was not a history buff, he or she would not know (Levin 1).
"England 1554. Henry VIII is dead. The country is divided. Catholic against Protestant. Henry's eldest daughter Mary, a fervent Catholic, is queen. She is childless. The Catholics" greatest fear is the succession of Mary's half-sister. Elizabeth." The first few minutes included a very graphic sequence of three Protestants being burned at the stake. The Protestants all have their heads shaved and are praying to God in Latin. Throughout Mary's reign, later known as Bloody Mary, people of Protestant faith were burned at the stake on her command. Catholicism was the religion of the country and Mary was deathly afraid that Elizabeth, a Protestant, would usurp her crown.
There are many historical inaccuracies throughout the movie; some are pure fiction while others are just slightly false. Queen Elizabeth I reined over England for forty-five years, the "political intrigues with members of her court and the conflicts with Scotland, France, and Spain" (Levin 1) in the film have been compressed into a time span of about five years. Also, Elizabeth herself was portrayed as a "weak and indecisive" (Levin 2) character when in fact she was a "hardened and practiced politician who was not afraid of her power and knew how to use it. She was raised in the reign of her father, Henry VIII, learning only too well how dangerous even a slight personal or political mishap could be" (Gillett 1). Elizabeth was twenty-five when she was crowned Queen and in the film she is characterized more like a sixteen year-old.