Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, men played a dominant role in society. They were seen as the central leaders in their society. They were the heads of their household and represented the strength and wisdom of their society.
Probably because of the importance of male heroism in this poem, the significance of women is minimized.
Even though it is true that their appearance is limited and brief, they do play fundamental roles in it. This essay will introduce women and their roles in Beowulfgiving examples that clarify the centrality and prove the importance of female characters in the poem. The women that appear in Beowulf are: There are two queens among them: They are both queens in that they are married to the king, and they are hostesses in that they receive people in the hall and make sure that everyone is drinking and having a good time.
Noble women played an important role in heroic Anglo-Saxon society and had an essential influence in the hall, especially in hall ceremonies, though they also played an active role in diplomacy.
The hall is presented as the central social element in the poem, where people gathered together to talk about the major events of the court. The poet always makes use of positive words to describe them. Their role as hostesses has to do with the duty of carrying the mead cup and pass it to the king and warriors.
This apparently unimportant task is more revealing than we may think; it establishes a hierarchy in the hall. So this role of cupbearer assigned to noble women was directly linked to the status within the hall.
The first time Wealhtheow makes her appearance in the poemshe offers the cup to Hrothgar first, making clear that he is the most powerful figure in the hall, the king: According to Michael J.
Then, she passes it to the rest of the knights, and finally to Beowulf. He promises to get rid of Grendel, and Wealhtheow, pleased with his words, returns to her seat. He is the last man to receive the cup because he is a newcomer, a foreigner that just arrived to Heorot.
Because of this, Hrothgar needs to show his power, by receiving the goblet first, in the presence of the stranger Beowulf. This act makes Beowulf aware of who is the master of the place.
However, things change the second time she appearswhen Wealhtheow offers the cup to the king first, as usual, and right after that to Beowulf. Since he kept his promise and killed Grendel, he has risen in status now. He has the honour to receive the mead cup right after the king, in representation of his newly earned status.
Because of her gentleness and kindness, she is contrasted in the poem with the legendary queen Modthryth and her innate cruelty and wickedness.
These two women also have some influence on politics.
|Representations of Women in Medieval Literature||In this context, Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are one of the most significant works in medieval English Literature representing medieval English Romance and features knights, kings, distressed ladies, motivated by love, religious faith, lust for power, romance, mystery, fantasy or desire for adventure.|
|Portrayal of women in literature from caninariojana.com||The Women of Beowulf: He hopes to attend graduate school, after which he will probably not be hired for one of the five medievalist positions remaining.|
|As this age went on, however, women gradually began to express more opinions and have a greater and more equal role in society. They became less confined in many aspects of their lives and as a result are represented as such.|
|The Women of Beowulf:|
Instead, she encourages him to make Hrothulf his heir, to protect her sons: With this, she is clearly protecting her own interests, since she wants to make sure that someone from the family inherits the kingdom, and not an outsider. In her speech addressed to Beowulf, Wealhtheow urges him to accept the presents she has given to him: With these words she proves she is such a great hostess, showing her generosity and kindness through her presents.
In Old English poetry, noble women in their role of hostesses, also gave gifts.
This act of gift giving established reciprocity, an important mutual exchange between the giver and the receiver, and played an essential part in dynastic succession.
At the end of the speech, her final words reflect self-assurance and confidence, and illustrate her power over people and her right to command them:Beowulf: The Role of Women in Anglo-Saxon Literature In medieval literature, the representation of women was often portrayed as an amalgam of passivity and submission to men’s desires.
ANGLO~SAXON STUDIES GENDER AND POWER: FEMINISM AND OLD ENGLISH STUDIES t MORE is being written about women in Old English (OE). but whether or not we might Most studies explore Anglo-Saxon women's relation to power. Of course. there is The body of critical work on women in literature raises two issues: one is the extent to which.
Women in Anglo Saxon society like men assumed many roles. These roles ranged from “peace weavers” and motivators to cupbearers and memory keepers.
These roles which may seem insignificant were a vital and important part of the Anglo-Saxon culture. - Women in Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Society Beowulf, one of the most translated and reproduced epics of all time, is literature that concerns characters.
While Beowulf himself is the obvious hero of this Anglo-Saxon epic, many companions and fellow travelers are mentioned throughout the text.
Abstract. Many modern-day critics who study the writings of the Anglo-Saxon period have commented on the apparent mistreatment or exclusion of women from society. Mar 23, · This explanation of the roles of women really helped me understand their significance to the plot of Beowulf, along with their significance during .