Gender Roles In Beowulf

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What is it to be considered a hero according to the Anglo Saxons? What qualities must one obtain? What are some ways that you can demonstrate a heroic deed during this time? Lastly, what are the roles that each gender plays to demonstrate the roles that are given to them? Back in the 6th century, the roles of of men, women and children differ from those of today. The men were to be the heroes, have control, fight in battles, lead the kingdom. The women were to obey the men’s judgement, sustained a good clean household, and follow behind the men. The children were the ones to follow in their parents footsteps, be obedient, and grow. In Beowulf, there are many different characters that demonstrate those various roles and meet those expectations. In the literature …show more content…
Women were thought as their husband’s possessions, however some are mentioned and they do portray what it is to be good. One example of a woman who portrays a good woman or the role of the woman is Wealhtheow. She is the peaceweaver, the woman who kept the peace of her husband’s kingdom and of the Helmings and Scyldings through their marriage. “... observing the courtesies. Adorned in gold” (613-614). Wealhtheow, the queen of the Spear- Danes, serves her husband, King Hrothgar, first in the mead-hall. “She graciously saluted the men in the hall, then handed the cup first to Hrothgar, their homeland guardian...” (614-616). This is her honoring and giving respect to her husband first because he is the head not only in the kingdom but also in their household. She then serves the other men because she was the hostess. Continuing on after Hrothgar, adopts Beowulf as his son and wants him to take the throne after he has passed. However, Wealhtheow, being the traditional and loyal woman as she is, reminds her husband of their son 's’ future reign. To be a good woman in these times you must possess the like qualities of the Queen

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