Gender Roles: Men and Women from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance Era Part 1

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What if women never established rights? The world would not be the place it is today if that was the case. Women are able to do just as much as men are and even more. What if men were treated the same way as women were one thousand years ago? They would have felt just as the women did, hurt because the treatment between men and women was unfair. The fact that men and women were not treated equally was wrong in many ways, but that was the way of life during those times. In the British culture, from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance time period, the men were respected on a higher level than women, and women were to always be subservient to men, which were demonstrated throughout many works of literature. During the Anglo-Saxon time …show more content…
This quote explains, “These abbesses . . . were in charge of large double houses that included both a monastery and a nunnery” (Leeming 10). To be an abbess Men were supposed to be warrior like, while the women weren’t even that important. The men were the ones in charge and the women had to obey them, which is shown throughout the story of Beowulf.
In Beowulf, Welthow represents the more traditional and conservative Anglo-Saxon woman because she is always subservient to men. Welthow being subservient to men id displayed when: “Then Welthow, / Hrothgar’s gold-ringed, green greeted / The warriors; a noble woman who knew / What was right . . . Then Welthow went from warrior to warrior, / Pouring a portion from the jeweled cup / For each, till the bracelet-wearing queen / Had carried the mead-cup among them . . . Turn to be served” (345-357). Although Welthow knows she is a queen, she still has to fulfill the needs of any man in her presence. She knows that is the right thing to do because she is aware of her role in society. Always being subservient to men is what she was supposed to do. Unlike today's time, a queen holds a very powerful position, therefore people serve her, not the other way around. It is extremely uncommon for a person of such high power to serve others. Although Welthow was an exemplar of the way women were supposed to act during this time, Grendel’s mother was not.

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