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Abstract

While not a very elegant representation of Bess of Hardwick, this quatrain nevertheless introduces a striking and unique character of an Elizabethan woman. Many studies on Elizabethan women focus on the subjugated place of females in that society. However, women, such as Bess of Hardwick, existed, and did not fit within these stereotypes, much like the poem by one of Bess’ contemporaries indicates. Often, since these women are minorities in sixteenth century England, they are overlooked entirely and not given proper credit for their accomplishments and services to crown and country. This is an ungracious disservice to the women who influenced Elizabethan society, becoming strong leaders. Despite the socio-legal factors working against women in Tudor England, Bess of Hardwick, noblewoman and leader in her own right, defied the odds and held authority often only assigned to men. Not only did she attain considerable wealth, and influence in sixteenth century society, even in the royal succession, but she also broke through the barriers that generally obstructed women of the Elizabethan age, namely inferior position in marriage and society, and confinement to gender stereotypic roles.

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