Beowulf Essay: The Roles Of Anglo-Saxon Women

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In Anglo-Saxon culture, women had a variety of laws protecting them; thus, allowing them to own property, and it was forbidden to marry them without their consent. The Anglo-Saxons regarded men as the dominant gender in their society. One of the fundamental roles women executed in this society was to settle feuds through marriage; in result they were commonly known as peace-weavers. In addition, society labeled them as cupbearers since they served their lord, his kinsmen, and troops in mead halls. The unknown author of the epic poem “Beowulf” presents various female characters to depict the different roles and characteristics each performed and represented in Anglo-Saxon culture and society; these include queen Wealhtheow, Grendel’s mother, queen Hygd, Freawaru and Hildeburh.…show more content…
The characters that illustrate this function in the narrative poem are Wealhtheow, queen of the Danes, and Hygd, queen of the Geats. As stated by lines 612 – 618, Wealhtheow organized the welcoming feast for the Geats and served her husband, Hrothgar, and the crowd. For this reason, the queen of the Danes might symbolize hospitality. Another example of hospitality and propriety is Hygd, the wife of King Hygelac. Lines 1926 through lines 1931 describes the thoughtful queen of the Geats, and she is contrasted with her opposite, queen Modthryth, whose behavior is improper for a royal. Wealhtheow and Hygd also represent generosity and thankfulness towards the poem’s hero; the Danish queen offers him advice and presents in return of his victories, and the Geat queen expresses her gratitude by offering him the throne. The narrator describes both queens with the usage of favorable adjectives in order to represent the importance of their roles within courts and mead

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