Compare and contrast the role of women in Beowulf and Grendel.

Essay by askas1High School, 12th gradeA-, February 2008

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

As an epic tale of battle and heroic, the poem Beowulf and its spin-off novel Grendel are both literatures that detail characters and their deeds. Throughout the poem Beowulf, the author talks about men and their physical strength and appearances. On the other hand however, women are barely mentioned at all and are portrayed as weak and have none of the qualities that the men have. This paper will mainly focus on two of the most important female figures in Beowulf and Grendel-Wealtheow and Grendel’s mother. Theses two characters have many similarities and differences between and in some way is a foil or an alter-ego of each other.

From the poem Beowulf, the readers are able to gains a clear insight into the Anglo-Saxon view of women and what their role in society is. Back in the 11th centuries when Beowulf was first written, it was not unusual for kings to marry their daughter off as a token of peace and submission.

In the novel Grendel, we learn that Wealhtheow's brother, the King of Helmings had married her off to King Hrothgar in order to promote peace and stability between the two nations. Furthermore, in her very first appearance in the poem, the readers were able to get a clear demonstration of what her duties as the queen is. As a queen, Wealhtheow has a role to fulfill and she was able to do it with grace and dignity. She welcomes the guests, offers food and drinks and creates a peaceful harmony in the mead-hall, which was evident when Unferth was been scorned by other for killing his brothers and the queen was able to calm him down with just words. In many ways, Wealhtheow, the queen of the Danes, represents what a perfect hostess and devoted...