College of Arts and Sciences
Theresa Earenfight, PhD
Allison Meyer, PhD
Nicole Beauvais; Melat Ermyas
This paper discusses how the 1529 play A New Enterlude of the Godly Queene Hester uses the story of Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia, to create a model for good Christian queenship and monarchy. Previous scholarship has focused on how this play served as an allegory for contemporary political events, specifically the scandals surrounding Cardinal Wolsey and the very public decay of the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII of England. Building on previous scholarship, this paper will focus on how these allegories serve to present the play’s Jewish characters and Jewishness in general. This paper will also discuss the meaning of the story of Esther to Jews in the late medieval and early modern periods and how the contemporary situation of Jews in Europe—specifically in England and the Iberian Peninsula—could have informed the way they are presented in this play. I argue that the way Jewishness is transformed into allegories in Godly Queene Hester allows the play to focus on good rulership and contemporary politics, while effectively removing the story’s Jewish nature and contemporary Jewish meaning, therefore exiling the Jews from the narrative—much like England and Spain exiled their actual Jewish populations in 1290 and 1492, respectively.
Van Etten, Adina
"Esther, the Christian Queen of Persia: Godly Queene Hester (1529) and the Appropriation of Jewish Narratives on the Tudor Stage.,"
SUURJ: Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 6, Article 16.
Available at: https://scholarworks.seattleu.edu/suurj/vol6/iss1/16