It is not a new story, nor is it one that is very complicated. It is a story about the way the world is.
A Context for Interpretation," Gillian R. Overing writes that "[t]he women in Beowulf, whether illegitimate monsters or pedigreed peaceweaving queens, are all Beowul masculinity, excluded figures.
Read within the context of the society presented in the text, it is clear that the women are central and important to the poem as a whole. Through these discussions I will show that, when read carefully, Beowulf presents the female characters as women central both to the story itself and within the society presented in the poem, and far from "marginal, excluded figures".
Let us first examine the major female characters. There are six women in Beowulf who have major roles: Wealhtheow and Hygd are both queens and, as hostesses, they both exert influence in the hall usually thought of as a masculine enclaveinfluence that does not always coincide with the wishes of their husbands.
The first section will present Wealhtheow and Hygd as hostesses, discussing their place in the structure of the court society shown in the poem, a society that focuses on the hall and the words that are spoken within the hall.
Hildeburh and Freawaru are both failed peaceweavers, Hildeburh in the past time of the poem and Freawaru in the future. As peaceweavers, these women have the potential to hold influence in both groups - potential which does not come to fruition for reasons that will be discussed in the second section, which will present Hildeburh and Freawaru as peaceweavers, discuss the effect of tribal loyalties on their marriages, and examine the general practice of peaceweaving.
These monstrous women serve as counter-examples of both the hostesses and the peaceweavers. Woman as Hostess First, let us examine Wealhtheow and Hygd, their actions, and how the poet describes them. They are both illustrated using positive terms that stress their prudence.
Wealhtheow is "mindful of customs,""of excellent heart" ; can also be translated as "mature of mind"and "sure of speech"while Hygd is "wise and well-taught" .
The primary function of these women within the story is that of hostess: This appears to be a relatively unimportant function until one reads carefully and examines how this duty is carried out. After Hrothgar drinks she takes the cup to all his retainers until finally she reaches Beowulf.
She greets him, he reasserts his promise, made in a previous scene, to rid the Danes of Grendel, and Wealhtheow, satisfied, returns to her seat. Again Wealhtheow first approaches Hrothgar, who is sitting next to his nephew, but next instead of carrying the cup to all the other retainers she delivers it directly to Beowulf, who has been seated with her sons.
This difference may show that Beowulf has risen in status in the court since he kept his promise to kill Grendel.
But because the function of this change is unclear in the text itself, it is helpful to look to other sources for a possible answer. Enright, in the first chapter of his book Lady with a Mead Cup, discusses the place of women in the political society of the Germanic warband, making special reference to those scenes in Beowulf involving Wealhtheow .
Enright argues that, because she always offers the cup to Hrothgar first, Wealhtheow is an extension of and a support for his kingly power.
He cites another Old English poem, Maxims I, that seems to confirm this argument. The order of serving is then directly tied into the rankings within the warband.
This argument makes sense in reference to the scenes in question: Hygd, the other woman who plays the role of hostess in Beowulf, has a much smaller part. She is described as moving through the hall, carrying the cup, but no order is given for her rounds The poet does not say whether or when she delivered to cup to Hygelac or to Beowulf.
Considering the above argument for the importance of order in the cup-distribution, it seems that the lack of that information in the case of Hygd is just as important as the information included at Heorot. In the scenes involving Wealhtheow, Beowulf is a stranger in a rival hall, so it is necessary for Hrothgar to show his power.
The poet illustrates this power through the passing around of the cup, and Beowulf knows that, because the king receives the cup first, he is the master of the hall. However, because Beowulf has returned to his own hall and to his own lord, there is no need for Hygelac to show that he is the master.
These examples of Wealhtheow and Hygd show them as instruments of the kings in the hall. Enright does disservice to them, however, by focusing only on their function as extensions of their husbands.Beowulf is a portrait of these virtues.
Written in the most primitive form of our own language, it is in many ways the forerunner of every other heroic tale in English literature. Written in the most primitive form of our own language, it is in many ways the forerunner of every other heroic tale in English literature.
As an antidote to the caricatures of masculinity inundating our culture, I would suggest boys be encouraged to read the great epics: the Illiad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Beowulf, or even something more recent like All Quiet on the Western Front. The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf: A New Context By Dorothy Carr Porter Western Michigan University.
ABSTRACT: This paper examines the roles of the women in Beowulf, focusing on those of hostess, peaceweavers, and grupobittia.com read through an anthropological lens, Beowulf presents the female characters as being .
Presentation of Gender in 'Beowulf' by Gabi and Rachel Overview Aims and objectives Context Masculinity Femininity Themes Alternate Readings - Male-oriented content - Presentation of masculinity - Presentation of femininity - A contemporary reading - Presentations of masculinity .
Abstract: Grendel's Mother's masculinity is connected with the textual anxiety over kinslaughter in grupobittia.coml's Mother enacts the physical threat between hosts and guests, which itself recalls the ever present violence between men and the closest reflections of themselves, their kin.
Sep 10, · Beowul Masculinity - Words Keith Gonzales Mr. Windham English IV – Slot 1 16 September Masculinity in Beowulf The Poem Beowulf was composed sometime between the middle of the seventh and the end of the tenth century of the first millennium; it was originally written in Anglo-Saxon, or Old English.