Beowulf

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Women in Beowulf’s Time

Beowulf is an epic tale written over twelve hundred years ago. In the poem, several different female characters are introduced, and each woman possesses detailed and “unique characteristics” (Women’s Role in Beowulf). The women in Beowulf are portrayed as “strong individuals” (Women’s Role in Beowulf), each of whom has a specific role within the poem. Some women are cast as the cupbearers and gracious hostesses of the mead halls, such as Wealhtheow and Hygd, while others, such as, Grendel's mother, fulfill the role of a monstrous uninvited guest. Aside from the example of Grendel’s mother, the women in Beowulf are confined, both in terms of “physical space” and in their “roles as peace weavers” (Representations). Women were never “represented as being apart from their men” and generally did not serve any other function throughout the story other than to “assist with the relationships” of men (Representations). Women were often well dressed and decorous with well awareness and accepting of their role as peace weavers and objects of beauty. Anglo-Saxon women did not have it easy; women had basically no rights. Young girls are under the protection of their father, and when they come of age, they are sent to attend to the comforts of their husband. Being a warrior was the greatest honor and that is what every man attempted to become. Because not every man became a warrior, life expectancy was low. Since women were not expected to do battle, they were expected to have kids; and the more boys the better. “Afterwards a boy-child was sent to Shield, 
a cub in the yard, a comfort sent
by God to that nation. He knew what they had tholed, 
the long times and troubles they'd come through
without a leader; so the Lord of Life, 
the glorious Almighty, made this man renowned”(Heaney12-17). Anytime a great man would manage to achieve heroic feats, the narrator would be careful to attribute their victories to God for His favor and divine plan. The more...
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