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The Role Of Women In Beowulf

Decent Essays
From the earliest periods of man, society never truly learns from the mistakes of the past. The desire for fame and glory is sometimes overshadowed by the allure of women, and the clouds of ego that flood man’s mind. This is the story of Beowulf, the man who battled horrid beasts all whilst tackling the challenge of leading his people and personal demons. While the story of Beowulf has been told for centuries, his glorious deeds seemed to have changed throughout the years. The impact of this story is relevant to this day as his story is still told and still ever changing. Movies have been released in order to depict his story, and the contrast is significant to that of the original printing of Beowulf. This shows throughout the Beowulf movie…show more content…
For example, both versions of the story women are mistreated and never truly respected, and throughout the poem there is little to no reference of women in the story. In addition to this, we see in the movie a similar example when Hrothgar gives away his queen in order to honor Beowulf. This represents the view of women in Anglo Saxon society back then. They seemed to play very little role in the legacy of the Anglo Saxon culture, at least in the men’s eyes. However, the portrayal of women in both stories harbours stark contrast. Although women are treated poorly, they play a much more significant role in the movie as compared to the poem. For example, in the movie the representation of Grendel’s mother is significantly different as compared to her portrayal throughout the poem. Specifically, in lines 474 and 475 the passage refers to Grendel’s mother as a “witch” and “She-Wolf,” and more importantly, this is the only real mention of women in the poem of Beowulf. However, in the movie of Beowulf, Grendel’s mother is portrayed by the beautiful Angelina Jolie. The complete opposite of a “She-Wolf” and “witch.” She also plays a much more significant role in developing the storylines and themes of the story. This shows a much more modern representation of women and how…show more content…
The battle between good versus evil, or the darkness versus the light. Throughout both stories it is clear which characters are either good or evil; however, in the movie many of the characters throughout Beowulf have a different representation when compared to the poem. These ideas are shown throughout the poem the movie, as the plots and storylines developed it is clear who are protagonists and antagonists are. The battle between good versus evil has set teams. However, from the reading it is clear these characters are morally ambiguous. If even the hero Beowulf has flaws, certainly the rest of the characters do as well. For example, in the parts of the poem, like lines 142-151, Beowulf describes Hrothgar’s amazing nature and ability to be a wise king and renowned leader, but in the movie the representation of Hrothgar is extremely flawed when compared to Hrothgar of the poem. Throughout the movie Hrothgar is depicted as a drunkard and an unwise king, not only that, but one of the many themes of Beowulf is also shown and that is history repeating itself. In a shocking turn of events Hrothgar ends up being Grendel’s father, a further testament to his ambiguous behaviors; however, when he tasks Beowulf with slaying Grendel’s mother, Beowulf repeats his wrongdoings. This a stark contrast in comparison to the poem versions of these characters, and in a sense represents the society of today where morally ambiguous
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