Male Heroism In Beowulf

568 Words3 Pages
Some critics have argued that “women had no place in the masculine, death-centered world of Beowulf”. Probably because of the importance of male heroism in this poem, the significance of women is reduced. The women have a huge role in Beowulf. The women's role has to do with carrying the mead cup and to pass it to the kings and warriors. This apparently unimportant task is more revealing than we may think; it establishes a hierarchy in the hall.

We find the two monster-like women in the poem, namely Grendel’s mother and Thryth. These women are monstrous in that they are all the differing to peaceweavers and hostesses: they are happy and satisfied using violence to solve their arguments and they do not welcome anyone that comes into their houses. They can be considered forceful and cruel because they rather make use of weapons and their physical strength rather than using words or marriage to effect other people, just like Wealhtheow or Hildeburh.

It can be demanded that not only do the females live up to their own gender roles, but they also cross the limits into what were stereotypically considered male roles. It is Grendel’s mother who makes the role of a warrior, a position only ever taken up by men. She alone challenges the stereotype of a reflexive female when she takes on Beowulf and his men at Heorot Hall.
…show more content…
In the form of the work, the performance of these women is purposefully regular, appealing comparisons and contrasts. Those women who act as hostesses and peace weavers, even while looking out for their own interests, are central to the poem, and an understanding of the functions of the women in Beowulf assists the understanding of a complex poem. Those women presented as monsters, the hostile hostesses and strife-weavers, are interesting in themselves, and also serve as counter-examples to the other female

More about Male Heroism In Beowulf

Open Document