Women In Beowulf

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The Measure of a Woman On the surface, “Beowulf” might appear to be a poem that puts little to no significance on the role of women and, as many epic narratives do, put a great deal of emphasis on male heroism. While male heroism is undoubtedly present throughout this epic, the actions of women are to be considered influential. It might not even be enough to call these actions merely influential, but essential to the progress, growth and successfulness of the story. While on the outside it may look like women have a more menial task to play in this epic, this is not the case at all. The women in the poem play the roles that men cannot or have not fulfilled, namely: the peace-weaver, the hostess and the vengeful mother. Hildeburh serves her…show more content…
When it is time for the first feast, our queen can be found circulating the party bearing the cups of mead for the king and each of the warriors. What is so important to note about this is that she serves the mead in such an order that it establishes hierarchy within the feast attendants. She begins her round by handing the first cup to Hrothgar as a sign of honor for her King. This simple action establishes Hrothgar’s position at the top of the chain. Soon after she, “went on her rounds/…/offering the goblet to all ranks/…/until it was Beowulf’s turn to take it from her hand” (620,622,624). While this action reinforces the already established hierarchy, it also demonstrates her power in her role as a hostess. In addition, this action depicts Beowulf’s current societal…show more content…
What is important to note here is that Beowulf defeated Grendel’s mother, but she was no weak foe. The love of a mother is nothing to be played with. His victory was not with ease. Grendel’s mother is a central figure in this story because she was such a fierce competitor for Beowulf. She embodied the strength and power of a mother seeking revenge. The importance of women in “Beowulf” is highly underestimated. The female roles prove essential to the development of the story and aid in keeping a civilized society. Hildebruh brings a female perspective on loyalty. Wealhtheow proves to be a woman of political importance that brings order to her land, along with upholding social customs. Lastly, Grendel’s mother proves to be a fierce competitor that ultimately changes the game for Beowulf. In the grand scheme of things, women do more than matter in this poem, they are an imperative part of the development of

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