The Role Of Women In Beowulf And Sir Gawain

1379 Words6 Pages
The principal role of woman during the medieval times has drastically changed through each literary work. Starting from simple jobs of; caring for their children and husband and looking after the house to more powerful jobs; of working for their kings and being a more active character in the plot of the story. The role of woman has evolved majorly throughout the medieval times as seen in two major poetic works of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The two poems, Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, show that woman have always had power but the power expressed in woman during the medieval times are such that expressed through their masculine counterparts. The author's of these two poems use structure, theme, and imagery to…show more content…
However, it is reasoned that the woman are not discussed as much throughout the poem because of their sign of weaknesses and that they do not show the same heroic strong qualities that the men do. Some critics have strongly argued, “women had no place in the masculine, death-centered world of Beowulf,” which could be because of the importance of male heroism in this poem and the small minimized role of women.(Source). Wealhtheow, Hrothgar’s wife, plays a role in the politics of the court as well as being very cautious and protective of her family. An event that portrays her powerful role is when she stands up to Hrothgar by telling him that although it is nice of him to adopt Beowulf, he already has two sons of his own that he should be paying attention to. Although the power in this event is not of great power, for women it means a lot to be able to stand up to a man especially their husband or king. Two of the most powerful woman in this poem were queens. Queen Wealhtheow and Queen Hygd were both married to kings and their main job was to be hostesses in which they receive the guests in the hall and make sure that everyone is drinking and having a good time. The queens are a prime example of the assumption that the role of women are expressed through their masculine counterparts, which is seen through their jobs that are solely to please the men. The opening scene in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight simply expresses how woman are viewed throughout the story. During the opening feast at King Arthur’s court, the writer says, “ladies laughed aloud, though losers they were”(Line 60). This saying introduces the debatable nature of how women were viewed specifically in this certain time period. It is found odd that the ladies would find it funny to be losers,

More about The Role Of Women In Beowulf And Sir Gawain

Open Document