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A Good Death: The Rebirth of Sir Walter Raleigh


This research project tracked the changing public perception of Sir Walter Raleigh after his execution by the English in 1618. In the years after his death his image was recreated into that of an English Protestant Hero, which protected English pirates. The public’s perception was gauged using scaffolding speeches which recorded Raleigh’s last words, ballads, poems, and popular stories relating to pirates and acts of piracy. Using material released by the English Crown and its affiliates; i.e. treaties, transcripts of trials, royal proclamations, admiralty court records and the accounts of the Ordinary, one finds English authorities only started to develop a discourse to fight this myth with the case of Captain Every in 1696. This rhetoric against the protestant hero-pirate was fully developed by the early 18th century.

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