Essay on The Epic Poem ' Beowulf '

1377 Words Oct 20th, 2016 6 Pages
For centuries, the epic poem “Beowulf” has served a multitude of purposes for historians trying to forge an accurate image of early Anglo-Saxon society. Due to the apparent shortage of credible primary sources pertaining to the time in question, it becomes ever more clear why this sole thread of Anglo-Saxon literature is so heavily investigated by those in the field. As it pertains to this essay, the epic poem will be used to shed light on the prevalent gender roles exinsistant within Anglo-Saxon culture. As was common for the majority of societies in Medieval Europe, Christianity would leave a huge imprint on the basic framework of these gender expectations and helped forge what would constitute the ideal man and woman of the time. Through the characters of Beowulf and Hrothgar, examples of the irreproachable Anglo-Saxon male figure are depicted as not only immensely powerful but also graciously humble. With the ability to both save his followers from grave danger and at the same time keep himself from being overwhelmed with glory, because of his constant awareness of the ever present superior counter part in the heavens. As for the Women of the epic tale, the characters of Queen Modthryth, Queen Hygd, and Hrothgar’s daughter represent not only what an Anglo-Saxon women was expected to be but also what was undesirable of the time. Catering to the needs of men, being aesthetically pleasing, and occasionally serving diplomatic needs are only a number of the traits attributed…

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