Roles Of Women In Beowulf

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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. Grendel’s mother plays two crucial roles as she conforms to the allocated roles of being a mother and avenging her child while makes her defy some of the allocated roles…show more content…
Grendel’s mother reaffirms the motherly gender performance associated with women. She is a loving mother who will do anything for her child regardless of the consequences associated with the act. After the death of Grendel, she takes it upon herself to avenge the death of her child. In doing so, she manifests how much she loves she has as a mother. She is willing to go to the extent of killing the king and facing Beowulf, who was a fierce soldier to avenge Grendel’s death. The poet states “But now his mother had sallied forth on a savage journey, grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge.” (p. 62). The line indicates her anger and rage towards the people who killed her son. In that rage lies the love she has for her son as a mother. The poet uses the line to create empathy on his readers. The audience can identify with the rage and the current situation of Grendel’s mother. It also elicits empathy for her son Grendel (the monster) who is a descendant of Cain. In taking revenge for her son’s death, Grendel’s mother lives up to the gender roles assigned by the…show more content…
In the poem, it is evident that men are assigned the roles of being warriors. They are the heroes of war and knights who can fight battles for their kingdoms. However, Grendel’s mother proves otherwise. The poet states that “Her onslaught was less only by as much as an amazon warrior 's strength is less than an armed man 's,” (p. 62) He further states how she held the men in the room by stating “She had pounced and taken one of the retainers in a tight hold, then headed for the fen,” (p. 62). This line indicates the level of strength she exhibited. This kind of strength was majorly associated with men as they were the warriors tasked with fighting for their people. Grendel’s mother chose to defy this norm and gathered all her strength to fight in a course she believed to be true and
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