The Role Of Women In Beowulf Essay

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The anglo-saxon poem ' Beowulf' written during the medieval times is indeed one rich in mythology, folklore and meaning. While the unfeminine poem tells the tales of kings and warriors, the women in it are not to be ignored. Women have been given a particular importance in the poem along with the men. If the poem sings praises of the great Geatish hero Beowulf, it also hums the significance of its women. The Anglo- Saxon society, despite being highly patriarchal with their Kings and Heroes, the women in this poem are however not depicted as classic marginalised and inferior beings. Instead, we are presented the power and effect of female influence in a predominantly male world of the Epic.

According to Robert Harris, “The most common of female
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Grendel's mother and Thyth are two different types of monsters and they are the complete opposite of the peacemakers and hostesses. They do not weave peace. They are women who solve things not by alliance or marriage but by violence. They use physical power to impose their wants and decisions. They are neither hostesses. They attack anybody who dare to enter their territory, whether it is their palace or cave. They both share some common behaviors but are also different from each other in some way. Thyth is part of the society and functions within it. She has a status and class. Grendel's mother is a monster, a beast which means that she cannot be tamed except by death. However Thyth can be tamed and she is as she is married off to Offa. Grendel's mother is described with so much power and so much terror attributed to her that one cannot fail to notice how powerful a presence she is in the poem and at that time as well. “ ..now this powerful other one arrives, this force for evil driven to avenge her kingsman's death...” (Line 1333-1334). Grendel's mother has a great contribution in making Beowulf, the male protagonist, the great hero that he is. As they say, behind every successful man there is a woman, indeed behind the success of Beowulf stands a fierce female monster who made the heights that Beowulf achieved really great by her own power and fierce …show more content…
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1&2 The Women of Beowulf: Power and Duty in Anglo-Saxon Society | English Department - University of Maryland. 2018. The Women of Beowulf: Power and Duty in Anglo-Saxon Society | English Department - University of Maryland. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.english.umd.edu/psr/6049. [Accessed 21 January 2018].

3 Murphy, Michael. “Vows, Boasts and Taunts, and the Role of Women in Some Medieval Literature.” English Studies 66.2 (1985): 105. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2012.

4Acker, Paul. “Horror and the Maternal in Beowulf.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 121.3 (2006): 702-716. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2012.

5 Enright, Michael J. (1996) Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tène to the Viking Age. Dublin, Ireland and Portland.

6 Glosecki Stephen in The Heroic Age: The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf, Notes/Bibliography. 2018. The Heroic Age: The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf, Notes/Bibliography. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.heroicage.org/issues/5/porter2.html#anchor300528. [Accessed 21 January

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