Examples Of Revenge In Beowulf

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Cassidy Maher Mrs. Simmons English 12 10 October 2014 Revenge in Beowulf Imagine if today the world was full of murders that happened to innocent people with no rhyme or reason. We do have those, such as the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, but they are rather sparse. In the time of the Geats and the Danes, the Middle Ages, murder was committed left and right in order to avenge friend's and loved one's deaths. Beowulf is an elegy written by an unknown author a very long time ago. The current version that is widely read today was written by Seamus Heaney. The story focuses on heroes and the traits they carry and value. Beowulf and his men conquer three monsters: Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon. It is a story of war and revenge and adventure…show more content…
Past protection, the woman was meant to be a trophy or possession that was of high value. Average women in the middle age society were not allowed to seek revenge for their lost ones. They were stuck having to mourn, which was not really something that people, especially men, did during that time. In Beowulf, “only in the demonic world can women avenge their slain kin” (Camargo 128). Due to this, Grendel's mother was able to seek revenge for Grendel because she was a supernatural, monstrous being. She was able to go into Heorot hall without fear and seek to avenge her son's death. She wanted to kill Beowulf for killing her son. She was able to kill one of Hrothgar's best friends and this spurred a battle between her and the kingdom. Beowulf is notified that “she's taken revenge for your victory over Grendel. For your strength, your mighty grip, and that monster's death” (Heaney 1334-1336). She was doing as mothers would do during the time and was coming to protect her son even after he had died. She fought Beowulf to avenge Grendel's death and carry out motherly duty. Grendel's mother was a normal woman in that she wanted to defend her son and was sad and angry when he had been defeated by Beowulf. She was not normal because she was a monster and a supernatural being. Because of this, she had the ability to seek revenge and she did just that. Monsters and demons could seek to avenge deaths but…show more content…
It was not acceptable for women to avenge unless they were demonic. In Beowulf, Hildeburh was unable to avenge her husband Finn's death when he was slain because she was a good example of the common woman. She was emotionally attached to her family and was expected to protect her son and love her husband. Women always needed to look out for their sons by telling people “to treat these youths honorably” and always be kind and careful to them (Heaney 1181). She was also often “adorned in her gold” as she was often seen as a material object for the men to look at and enjoy (Heaney 614-615). She had no supernatural traits or demonic characteristics. Therefore, she could not seek to avenge Finn's death. Not only could Hildeburh not avenge Finn because she was a woman but also because “to avenge her son she must wish for the death of her own people, perhaps blood relatives among them” (Camargo 129). Revenge was not worth the extra loss that she would have suffered if she followed suit like a warrior would. If she were to pursue revenge upon the person who took Finn's life she would be inflicting wounds on those who she loved dearly and were not worth killing just so that she could release her anger and sadness. Revenge regarding women in the middle ages varied greatly depending on who they were and what type of woman they were but it was generally unacceptable for women to do anything except

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