Beowulf Essay: The Roles Of Grendel's Mother

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Register to read the introduction… In Beowulf, Grendel’s mother is not given a name; “Grendel’s mother” is what she is called. She is not given a name because she does not fit into the category of the traditional and conservative women. She has masculine characteristics, which is what men dislike about her. In the story, she is not described in a pleasant way. She was referred to as “Grendel’s fierce mother” (615), later on she was also called “the mighty water witch” (595), and even the “greedy she-wolf” (574). Mary Dockray-Miller describes Grendel’s mother when she states: “The violent queen illustrates the performance nature of the gender of power and shows that action, rather than biological sex, it is the determinant of that gender” (Dockray-Miller 1). Grendel’s mother is different because she is a woman, not only is. Men did not respect the women that were similar to Grendel’s mother. Beowulf represents his dislike for Grendel’s mother when he fights and it is the only way to defeat …show more content…
He drew it / From its scabbard, broke the chain on its hilt, / And then, savage, no, angry / And desperate, lifted it high over his head / And struck with all the strength he had left, / Caught her in the neck and cut it through, / Broke bones and all. (633-643)
The battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother is significant because it was Beowulf’s way of putting Grendel’s mother in her place. The sword that Grendel’s mother is killed with is the only thing that could defeat her. The sword symbolized a man’s strength because of how big, long, and pointed it is. Beowulf did not take the head of Grendel’s mother back to show off as a symbol of his victory because killing a woman would not have been a big deal in that time period. The level of importance for a woman in that society was very low. They were looked down on.
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