|Western Civilization Ward Betts
Mr. Cook 10/31/12
Hatshepsut: Dutiful Queen or Vile Usurper?
When Hatshepsut came into reign in 1479 B.C. people did not know what to expect. As one of the few female pharaohs, the way she came into power and how she ruled came into question. Many historians continue to research the question, was Hatshepsut a dutiful queen or wicked stepmother? Hatshepsut cannot be identified as a vile usurper but a dutiful queen as portrayed by revisionists.
Revisionists view Hatshepsut as a loyal queen because of the way she took the throne. Many historians from Ancient Egypt say that Hatshepsut’s claim to the throne was because she was power hungry and that she took it from her stepson, Thutmose III. Hatshepsut was in no way power hungry. She assumed her spot on the throne because she was of royal blood and knew she had to protect it for her stepson. When Thutmose II died, Thutmose III was too young and inexperienced to rule Egypt so Hatshepsut stepped up. Yet throughout Hatshepsut’s reign, Thutmose III was still recognized as king. The two ruled Egypt together and Hatshepsut taught Thutmose III and after she died, the new king became one of the greatest rulers in all of Ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut purposely took the throne because she knew she had to keep it for her stepson, but why didn’t she step down when Thutmose III came of age?
Hatshepsut became pharaoh in order to protect the throne for Thutmose III, yet when he came of age she did not step down because she had to continue her dutiful reign over Egypt. Hatshepsut could not just step down once Thutmose III came of age because after claiming kingship she became a God. “Once you take on the attributes that is it. You are a God. It’s not queen for a day, it’s king for al time.” (QK 12) By not stepping down, Hatshepsut was doing the correct thing according to her religion. Her kingship was a lifetime thing. Once she died, then the kingship would be passed on to Thutmose III, which is exactly what happened. Throughout Hatshepsut’s reign, the female pharaoh served as a great leader, yet Thutmose III destroyed most of her monuments after she died.
Even though Hatshepsut was a great pharaoh, Thutmose III found it necessary to destroy her monuments. Ancient Egyptologists believed it to be a long-awaited, bitter revenge against Hatshepsut (QK 4). Yet, the destruction of her monuments came some twenty years after she had died. If Hatshepsut was such a bad ruler and Thutmose III had so much hatred towards her, then why didn’t he destroy the monuments directly after her death? Therefore, the demolition of her monuments could not have been personal animosity. Either Thutmose III decided it was necessary to rewrite the official record of Hatshepsut’s reign (QK 27), or it had to do with his concerns about the succession of power after his death. Both could be correct, but neither theory leads to bitter revenge or hatred. Therefore, I look at Hatshepsut as the devoted queen of Egypt not a corrupt usurper.
Many Ancient Egyptologist recorded Hatshepsut as a vile usurper or wicked stepmother, yet facts and theories prove these recordings wrong. When she assumed the throne and continued to keep power until her death, she was not doing it for the power, but for all the right reasons. She wanted to protect the throne for her stepson, she wanted to teach him how to lead, and most of all she wanted what was best for Egypt.