Hortensia, Queen Elizabeth I, & Cherokee Women

Leave a comment

Petitioners and a Queen:
Hortensia: “Speech to the Triumvirs” (42 b.c.e.)
Queen Elizabeth I: “To the Troops at Tilbury” (1588)
Cherokee Women: “Cherokee Women Address Their Nation” (1817)

Opening Questions: (On Cherokee Women) What are they seeking and what are their reasons? Also, how does our knowledge of what happens to the Cherokees and other Native Americans influence our reading?
General topics discussed:

What are the commonalities and differences between readings?

Are there arguments “missing” from these examples?

How do they address these (possibly hostile) male audiences?

What makes these speeches necessary?

Why were these preserved?

Are these contributions that men couldn’t have made or just didn’t make?

Individual Readings:

Cherokee Women:

(see opening questions)

What authority do the women have to make a request?

How effective is the rhetoric? (Paying specific attention to the beginning and the ending)

Does an emotional appeal undermine or support other arguments?

Do emotional appeals “enfranchise” women or harm them?

What is the difference between a “values” argument and an “emotional” argument?

What are the values being referenced?

What are the emotions being used?

Queen Elizabeth I:

In what ways is she “speaking as a woman”?

In what ways is she “speaking as a man”?

What does she “give up” in her speech and what does she “claim”?

Does she “otherize” people? Who? and How?

Does knowledge of the historical circumstances influence our reading? If so, how?


What have the women already lost?

What are the “costs” of war?

Is it harder to live after a war or to fight in a war?

Who does Hortensia blame? What is her evidence?

How does property fit into this speech?


•Very focused on rhetoric which can be difficult to discuss especially with various levels of knowledge about the historical circumstances and rhetorical techniques.

•Shorter readings without context can be hard to get into without speculations

•The order of reading/discussion may make a difference. The Discussion Leader may want to spend some time thinking about how to order the readings and structure the discussion to facilitates a better conversation.

•The readings might have more suitable pairings. Consider including Queen Elizabeth with Aspasia instead and including Belinda as the third reading.

Further reading suggestions:
Something about Spartan women or a reading by a Spartan women?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: