The Women's Roles In Beowulf

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Beowulf, an epic poem which describes the heroism of a brave warrior who turned fallen king. He is the male example of what a man is thought to be in the Anglo-Saxon era.”…he was the mightiest man on earth, highborn and powerful.” (pg 8) He is strong, loyal and is a protector of the people. Within the lines of our poem we do meet some women characters who represent the different roles associated to them in the Anglo-Saxon society. The roles they play are small but hold a part in the poem enough to be mentioned. The epic poem is mainly about male heroism and role in Anglo-Saxon society. Wealhtheow, Hildeburh and Grendal’s mother are some of the characters we meet portrayed within the poem. All different roles. One a Queen, one a Princess and the last a monster. They show the stature and nobility of different women in the Anglo-Saxon society and the roles of influence they can play. Women being subservient to men, not being physical but more headstrong and obliging the men and guests in their home.
“The women in Beowulf are the representatives of an Anglo-Saxon culture that put value upon all members of the community regardless of gender” (Sarmiento). The hostess, the peace-weaver and the monster are the roles we see in Beowulf. Woman serving and fulfilling their duties to the men and people they
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“Grendel’s mother, monstrous hell-bride, brooded on her wrongs. She had been forced down into fearful waters, the cold depths…” (pg 34) She cannot be defined by the role as a hostess. She would attack any person or creature who would dare enter her cave. In describing Grendel’s mother in comparison to the other women portrayed is true to the fact that “she has the form of a woman” (pg 155) but is “monstrous hell-bride” (pg 34). Her behavior is unnatural and unlike “female ‘peacemakers’ do not wage war…her unnatural behavior seems more
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