Gender Roles In Beowulf

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Beowulf is the longest and the most marvellous poem in the Old English literature and that is why it is called an epic poem. In accordance with the principles of heroic poetry, the poet mainly focused on the deeds of the male hero. Men have big important roles while women are depicted as side characters that do not have any significant role in society. Well that is exactly what you will think if you do not read the poem carefully. So even though women may seem to not be of primary concerns, they have significant roles in the poem. The three major women that play integral roles throughout the epic are Wealhtheow, the gracious queen of the Danes, Hildeburh, daughter of the king of the Danes and Grendel’s Mother, the monstrous water-witch. These women bring peace and order in their country and contradict the social expectations of the female gender.…show more content…
Throughout the story Grendel's mother is depicted as an evil masculine and monstrous woman, who counteracts the social expectations of a woman in society. She is comfortable and satisfied using violence to solve her problems and she does not welcome anyone that enters her cave without a reason. She would, for example, rather use her physical strength and weapons than using words and marriage to exert influence unlike Wealhtheow and Hildeburh. However, The poet comments that this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated regardless of the social status (1940-1943). Furthermore, the female monster shows sudden masculine energy by engaging in the duties assigned to a warrior. This is clearly shown when Grendel's mother goes on a "sorrowful journey to avenge her slain son" (Beowulf lines 1276-78) after the death of her son. In the society of the poem seeking revenge as a woman is not acceptable only men seek revenge so therefore every woman that does so is considered sinful for disobeying the expected behaviour of a female in that

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