The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1908 Tuesday, 10 October 2000.
Date: Monday, 9 Oct 2000 09:03:28 -0400
Subject: 11.1902 Re: Essex/Bolingbroke
Comment: RE: SHK 11.1902 Re: Essex/Bolingbroke
I don't believe there was any single "treasonous speech." The conviction
and execution resulted from the action of leading an armed march through
London aimed at taking the Queen into his custody. His defense was that
he was merely protecting her and himself from his "enemies." But the
magistrates opined that using force to take the queen into custody was
itself treason--which seems sensible enough. What Essex eventually
"confessed" to (after he had already been convicted and was awaiting
execution) was a version of his defense, claiming he never meant to harm
the Queen but wished to "use the shadow of her authority" to convene a
Parliament to condemn his enemies--and as many believed, to proclaim
himself King--a goal he never acknowledged.