How Is Grendel's Mother Portrayed In Beowulf

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Beowulf, written by Seamus Heaney, is narrated by a Christian poet and directed towards an old English audience. The text reveals to have a reflection of the patriarchal society in which the story was written. The story shadows a hero named Beowulf while he embarks on many adventures and vanquishes monsters. This quote takes place after Grendel’s vengeful mother makes an appearance and murders some of the villagers. Despite these murders, Grendel’s mother is belittled because of her lady-like demeanor despite having a more of an impact on the king and proving to be harder to defeat than Grendel.
Moreover, the threat that Grendel’s mother poses is diminished because of her femininity. This is evident through the phrase “Her onslaught was less only by as much as an amazon
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When battling the mother, he would have died if he had not found a sword in her armory. The battle between Grendel and Beowulf took 4 pages while the battle with his mother took 7 pages to describe, signaling that she was more of a challenge to Beowulf than Grendel was. Beowulf himself admits that he “barely survived” and the battle proved to be very difficult (Beowulf, p115). However, he received lesser praise for his greater accomplishment. Compared to the praise he received after the fight with Grendel, his praise was nothing. This shows an indication that she was not seen as a great enough accomplishment to warrant praise.
Overall, the value of Grendel’s mother is diminished as a result of the representation of patriarchy found in the book. Grendel’s mother was a great foe who proved to have a larger impact and cause the king the most grief. She almost kills Beowulf and causes him great injuries. Despite all this, she is seen as subordinate and Beowulf does not get the praise he deserves for defeating her, showing that even though a female character is strong, they will always be discredited for their feats because of this strong sense of male

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