The poem Beowulf centers on a male-dominated society with the major themes of violence and power. A majority of the main characters in the poem are men who play a key role in the advancement of its themes. The gender roles of men and women in the poem have been defined with men being allocated the roles of leaders and knights making them heroes while women are seen as peacemakers and trophies for their husbands. However, Grendel’s mother is an exception to other women in the poem. She defies the allocated roles given to women by refusing to conform to societal expectations.
When we examine the roles of women in poetry by a closer, we can see that the women play in central roles in Anglo-Saxon society. The women that appear in Beowulf are: Wealhtheow, Hygd, Hilderburh, Freawaru, Thyrth and Grendel’s mother. There are two queens among them, Wealhtheow and
Overall, Queen Wealtheow can be seen as the ultimate peace weaver. Men were the primary characters in Beowulf. Although, women make significant appearances even though they are brief. Wealtheow and Grendel’s mother are the main ones and are also polar opposites.
Women were not respected and often thought of sex objects that are there to make great men fall; this becomes very evident in the literature written during this time. In Beowulf, Grendel’s mother a monster, who is given the qualities of a women and represents women who are not submissive to their husbands. “Grendel’s mother, monstrous hell bride, brooded on her wrongs. ”(Beowulf, page 56, lines 58, 59).
Beowulf is an excellent piece with a lot for the readers to desire and relate to while reading. This analysis explores different escapades while examining the role of women in the literature. One thing to point out is that female characters have always received very thin attention in different pieces of literature, something that has always made many people think that their role is meager. Every piece of literature has an important message to pass across to its intended audiences. Indeed, this study seeks to demystify the male-centric mindset to promote the visibility of women in the contemporary interpretation of literary works demonstrating that women play a greater role in the literature despite the proximity given to male protagonist.
Wealtheow, upon the defeat of this Other female, perpetuates the nature of political allegiances through the presentation of gifts to Beowulf. These females, presented as opposites, are representations of a shifting socio-historical dynamic. Their
While the position of this paper is not that Beowulf is an immaculate hero unworthy of reproach, a complete inversion which places the focal point of the epic on the humanity of the monsters is an unwarranted and ethnocentric imposition of modern values onto literature that proceeded from a time and place where those values had no
In the article, Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism, The author tells us that Beowulf is one of the “most memorable in his capacity as the masculine warrior and king.” (Robert Morrey, Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism, University of Illinois Press) Even though he had no feminine companion beside him, he still fulfilled his roles, as he should have. Beowulf was authentically strong and unquestionably capable of standing up, even when nobody else could. He was able to stand up and arrest control when need be. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, he was struggling to be the best he could be until Enkidu died, his best friend. When he died, Gilgamesh started changing for the superior. Just as the article says, Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Heroic Life, “The most a man
Masculine Ideals in Anglo-Saxon Society The concept of a hero is prevalent through all generations because it presents a template for ethics and behavior. Beowulf is a pivotal epic told by poets throughout early european society and mirrors the manly nature of their ideal hero. The patriarchal values of the Anglo-Saxons are displayed through the epic Beowulf. The characters’ loyalty to their leaders as well as their conventional sense of masculinity indicate that the values of a society determine the values of an individual.
Not all heroes wear capes. Well, in novels and movies, they tend to. From the start, heros have always been someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. In poems such as Beowulf, which date back to the 10th century, implement the hero’s model in its purest form. The main character, Beowulf, is the stereotypical hero that comes from a far away land to defeat the monstrous antagonist Grendel, and defend the impotent villagers. More modern novels such as Grendel, depict the hero model in much different way. Grendel, the antagonist and protagonist, suffers through an extended existential crisis and is forced to deal with his monstrous instinct. The “hero” of this novel, Beowulf, is portrayed as
All of these women are “power-women,” they are in powerful positions and are not dependent on men as the queen of a kingdom, Queen Grimhilde, as the head of a household, Lady Tremaine, or as a single mother, Mother Gothel (Ayers, 2003). This negative association is made because they are the
In doing so, examine the feminist lens’s interpretation of the text. How are gender roles defined? Where to women fit into the text’s plot line. What do you notice about the women in this text? Is this congruent (similar) to society’s view of women, by today’s standards?
In “The Fair Jilt,” Miranda’s character is a manipulative and ill-natured woman whose behaviors connect her to the traditional view of women being innately evil. Behn’s presentation of a woman who conforms to stereotypical behaviors is puzzling considering the grave need for women writers who tell their stories and demonstrate that women cannot be defined by stereotypes. Despite the appearance of Behn accepting these harmful stereotypes, her use of them allows her to reveal the underlying factors that cause women to “misbehave” and results in them being characterized as villains. In early literature, stories about women who swindle ignorant men for societal advancement or women who cuckold their husbands are often used to define all women
Feminist literary criticism’s primary argument is that female characters have always been presented from a male’s viewpoint. According to Connell, in most literary works, female characters often play minor roles which emphasize their domestic roles, subservience and physical beauty while males are always the protagonists who are strong, heroic and dominant (qtd. in Woloshyn et al.150). This means that the women are perceived as weak and are supposed to be under the control of men. Gill and Sellers say that feminist literary criticism’s approach involves identifying with female characters in order to challenge any male centred outlook.