Author Topic: Anne Boleyn Question  (Read 11972 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2010, 10:57:12 AM »
Well, just to make up for my previous nastiness (sorry, I was in a horrific mood yesterday, but that's no excuse) I think 2,000 words does, as Kalafrena says, limit you quite severely to a very specific topic. I think maybe you should take up some kind of position on what kind of relationship Anne and Henry actually had. Was it, as at least one recent feminist scholar has argued, a clear case of sexual harassment (Anne had no real choice but to hold out for marriage, because the king had if not absolute power over her, something close to it. If she didn't want to end up a mere mistress, eventually cast aside with a bad reputation and terrible marriage prospects, what were her recourses exactly?). Or, as traditional (mostly male) scholars have (basically) contended (in so many words), Anne was the ultimate tease, the ultimate temptress, and led Henry on with her vast repertoire of French-learned sexual wiles. Probably the truth lies somewhere in between (I suspect Henry and Anne were genuinely in love with each other at some point) but there you go, that's a real debate and controversy in Tudor studies right now and one worthy of your attention.
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Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2010, 03:00:40 PM »
Thankyou.

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Anne Boleyn Essay
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2010, 04:58:47 AM »
I hope I'm putting this in the right spot, if not I'm sorry. So, part of my school districts requirements for me to graduate is to write a research paper called our Senior Thesis. It has to be a controversial topic, and I chose Anne Boleyn. Here is the finished product. I'm not very happy with it, I think I could have done a bit better in a couple of spots. Even then though I don't think I would have liked the finished results though. There was just so much info I wanted to include, but couldn't as there was no proper place for me to put it.

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: Anne Boleyn Essay
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2010, 05:02:33 AM »
I'll have to post later, sorry. Need to cut it up to fit and don't have enough time before I go to school.  ::)

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2010, 04:32:36 PM »
OK, finally here it it. There is also another paper I decided to do all on my own to fit in all the info I wanted to, but couldn't. Its not yet finished, but when it is I'll post it. That one won't ever be graded...unless a teacher on this board happens to read it and then decides to grade me on it. Lol.

Anne Boleyn, Innocent and Wrongfully Put to Death

Anne Boleyn, second wife and queen to King Henry VIII. Falsely accused and wrongfully executed for crimes she did not commit. The Tower of London , the place Anne stayed in triumph before her coronation in 1533. Where she lived out the last weeks of her life, where she was notoriously executed on May 19th, 1536 , and what would become her final resting place in an unmarked grave, so unbecoming for a queen of England . Anne Boleyn, along with seven other men, was falsely accused of incest, adultery, witchcraft, and high treason. Much of the evidence presented against her was either completely illogical, or hardly enough to matter.

Not much is known about Anne’s childhood, her birth has been put anywhere from 1500 to 1509. She was a fille d’honneur in Austria , a lady-in-waiting in France , to Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, and later Queen Claude after the death of Louis XII. Around 1521 Anne returned to England for a marriage, and while details were being worked through she was a lady-in-waiting for Queen Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife. After the marriage fell through Anne began a relationship with Henry Percy, but it was short lived as it was ended by Cardinal Wolsey, most likely on direct orders from the king. When Henry first noticed Anne isn’t known for sure, but when he did he sought to make her his mistress like her sister before her. She refused wanting all or nothing, so the search for an annulment began in 1527, a search that would take many years to complete. It lasted from 1527 to 1533. However, many things prevented this from happening. The biggest obstacle was Katherine’s nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor. He had held the Pope captive for a time, thus an annulment could not be granted by the Pope without severely displeasing his captor (Facts on File Henry VIII). In 1533 Anne became pregnant and a marriage was needed to keep the child legitimate (Eakins, Laura E.). So Henry and Anne married in secret, even though his first marriage was not yet dissolved. In Henry’s eyes however, he had never really been married to Katherine so he was free to do as he pleased. The marriage between Anne and Henry was considered a defacto break with Rome and Henry was excommunicated (elizabeathan-era.org). Soon after in May 1533, Henry and Katherine’s marriage was declared invalid by Thomas Cranmer. The Archbishop of Canterbury who then declared his marriage to Anne valid (New World Encyclopedia Cranmer, Thomas). Thomas Crammer played a big role in these events. He had been brought to Henry’s attention in 1529 after a conversation he had with Henry’s counselors expressing his views that because Katherine had been previously been married to Henry’s brother the marriage between them was probably illegal. Which no doubt pleased Henry to hear. While the baby was not a girl there was still hope for boys. However, after about three miscarriages Henry was impatient and once again began to take mistresses. Most notably of his mistresses was Jane Seymour. This was used by Anne’s enemies at court as a catalyst to plot against her. An investigation was put into place which resulted in “proof” that Anne had among other things committed adultery (Eakins, Laura E.). While basically everyone believes in Anne’s innocence, it is very difficult today to present a case, for both sides, as there is no surviving record of evidence remaining today (Facts of File Boleyn, Anne). Thomas Cranmer the same man who made it possible for Henry and Anne to be married, later had to acted similarly against Anne as he had with Katherine (Facts On File Cranmer, Thomas) Though it was probably not something he wanted to do as he had a friendship of some sort with Anne, and it has been said that he was very upset on the day of her death.

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2010, 04:35:39 PM »
Anne was accused of adultery with a number of different men, among them her own brother George Boleyn. Those accused with her were, Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Sir Thomas Wyatt. However, Sir Thomas Wyatt was later released. The accusation of her brother George added incest to the list as one of the crimes Anne was being charged with. The punishment for incest at the time was to be burned at the stake. However, it would be later changed to execution by beheading. Like with many of the crimes Anne was accused of there was no real proof to support this claim.
At the time the trial was happening probably the only proof that was supporting the claim that Anne and George actually committed incest was the word of George’s wife Jane. She testified against them during the trial, possibly for a number of reasons. She was jealous that George liked his sister better; she did not want Anne to be Queen, or even that she was just so unhappy in her marriage to George that she wanted to somehow end it. It could have been anything. This claim was proven false however, some years later when Jane admitted to lying when she was facing her own execution along side Henry’s fifth wife Katherine Howard who coincidentally was related to Anne (Eakins, Laura E.).
Besides incest having insufficient proof the charges of adultery were also shaky at best. Some of the men accused of sleeping with her were those close to her. Like her brother, but also her friend and musician Mark Smeaton. Another of the accused was William Brereton. It is very possible though, that William was just the victim of a grudge held by Thomas Cromwell who was one of those responsible for bringing Anne down. Mark Smeaton, was one of the very first to be arrested denied committing adultery with the queen, but was tortured into confessing at which point he also named the others who were later arrested and also executed days apart from Anne (New World Encyclopedia Boleyn, Anne).
Anne and all the others accused, besides being wrongly tried and punished, also did not receive a fair trial. Anne’s uncle the Duke of Norfolk was one of the judges presiding over the trial. Most people would make the assumption that this would work in Anne’s favor, giving her at least one person who was responsible for her fate that would rule in her favor and try and convince others to as well. It was just the opposite however. The Duke of Norfolk had previously supported Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon in favor of a marriage to Anne, but this was simply because it would do great things for his family in terms of wealth advancement (Ebsco “Thomas Howard Norfolk, 3d duke of”). If he had supported Anne at the end he would lose even more favor with the King than he probably already had. By going against Anne he would be able to show the King that he was still loyal to him above all others and have some sense of hope that he may eventually gain back some or even all of the favors he had lost. It could be said that the Duke did not care what happened to his family, he only cared about his wealth and position. If that could all be obtained it would be well worth what he lost in his family. As a result he chose to go against his family by condemning Anne and her brother to death (Anne Boleyn, History Reference Center ). Anne’s own father presided a bit over the trials, but was no hope to his children. He was of the same mind as his brother in law, if he saw a chance to further his position he would take it. He was certainly not above having his daughters become mistresses to the King. Thomas Boleyn presided over the trials, accusing and trying all the other men involved, but was excused by the King from condemning his own children to the same fate. It is not unlikely though, that he would have any trouble doing the same as his brother in law.

Offline TroubleTwin2

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Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2010, 04:36:59 PM »
All those who were accused and tried did receive a fair trial. Many would argue with that statement. Most of the men tried were aristocrats and could not be tortured into confessing like Mark Smeaton, who was the only one charged that was not an aristocrat. However, as well as being charged with committing adultery with the queen, they had also been charged with high treason and aiding Anne in conspiring to kill the king. When treason was involved to be able to defend yourself was un-allowed and you were left to the mercy of the court (New World Encyclopedia Boleyn, Anne.). So while it was the law, it is still incredibly unfair, and unjust that many innocent people, probably whose only crime was being friends with the right people and having enemies in those with the power to do them harm, were wrongfully put to death for something that they had no chance to prove false.
With regards to the actual evidence, there was hardly enough to rightfully convict Anne and others being tried with her. The fact that someone had to be tortured into confessing, while all the others to the very end claimed theirs and their queen’s innocence, is enough to show that there really was not enough to convict them. Aside from that a lot of everything collected was done so by Anne’s enemies and those who wished to see her fall from power. It would not have been hard for them to bribe their way into getting what they wanted, not only was it how many people gained what they wanted for those in a position of power it was incredibly easy to find the resources to do so.
Much of the evidence was also illogical. Only one of the accused pled guilty, the others all claimed innocence. That one was tortured, so it is questionable how reliable that one claim actually is. Anyone would lie and give in, giving the answer that was wanted just to put an end to the pain. It also has to be considered that the King was willing to do anything to get rid of Anne, so any evidence that was needed could have been easily bought and paid for. Henry was so desperate for a son, a healthy son to someday take over as the rightful heir to the kingdom that he would do anything. Including going above what was necessary. He could have simply annulled his marriage to Anne, which would ensure that he was free to remarry and their daughter Elizabeth would be illegitimate posing no threat to any future daughters. As well as many of Anne’s enemies were responsible for gathering such evidence they surly would not be above collecting false evidence to be presented against her, if not to rid themselves .

Because there is today no real recorded of evidence surviving today, it is difficult to say what was actually used to prove that Anne committed adultery. Many of the dates that were used as times when such acts were committed however, are unreliable. Some of the given times used as evidence Anne was away from court or even ill. The dates just don’t add up, but it counted enough for those who wanted it to, and as Anne didn’t have any sympathizers during her trial it was easy to be over looked.
Perhaps the most important detail in deciding weather or not Anne actually did commit adultery or not would be the result of her marriage at the very end of things. On May 17th Anne’s marriage to Henry was declared invalid. This technically means that there never was a marriage in the first place. It leaves plenty of room to wonder. If Anne and Henry were never married then how could Anne of committed adultery?
Finally on May 19th, Anne went to Tower Green where she was allowed a private execution. As one final act of kindness on Henry’s part a swordsman was hired to perform the execution as Anne was terrified of the axe. Her body and head were then placed into an arrow chest and then into an unmarked grave were it would remain as her final resting place until the reign of Queen Victoria . Something so understated for a Queen, and woman of the importance that she was. Anne’s marriage and death were part of the very complex beginnings that would become the English Reformation. She forever changed England and was no more than an afterthought for many years after her death