ABSTRACT

The 1502 Peace of Glasgow Treaty between perennial enemies England and Scotland brought a halt to fighting along the borders—temporarily. The incident that galvanized Pickering was only the latest catastrophe to befall England’s northern neighbor—as Elizabeth’s exasperated Secretary William Cecil wrote in 1567, “Scotland is a quagmire.” Mary Stuart’s personal rule was a political disaster. Widowed by the death of Francis II in 1560 after two years of marriage, she would spend seven turbulent years in Scotland, during which time she proved herself a dismal governor. Elizabeth is sent a message: approval of revenge and matricide onstage corresponds to hawkish English intervention in Scotland. In May 1568, some months after Horestes’ staging, Mary escaped to England, where she remained Elizabeth’s prisoner until her beheading in 1587. Elizabeth is sent a message: approval of revenge and matricide onstage corresponds to hawkish English intervention in Scotland.