Gender Roles in the Beowulf Poem

Can you imagine a time in your life when men had a higher power than women did? Most people probably remember in History class when we read those old textbooks. In the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, the Beowulf poet tells a story about a Geatish warrior who comes and saves the village, Herot. Beowulf saves his people multiple times during the battle of Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon.

During the three battles, Beowulf uses his epic strength and bravery to defeat all of the supernatural creatures. Sadly in the end of the last battle with the dragon, Beowulf succeeds, but dies in the process. There is so many examples of situations with gender roles such as peaceweavers, geatish warriors, and mysterious monsters. One example of gender roles in Beowulf is when the Beowulf poet uses the peaceweaver as one of the major roles of women. One of the major peaceweavers was Welthow. She was Hrothgar’s queen, and the mother of his young sons, Hrethric and Hrothmund. Most of her speeches are full of tragic implications, well-known to the Anglo-Saxon audience.

She is also known as a peacekeeper; who keep things peaceful and often by settling conflicts or making sure everybody is okay. One of Welthow first scene she was introduced in was on lines (612- 641) , after taking up the cup she first offers it to Hrothgar. 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. Another example of gender roles in Beowulf is when the Beowulf poet uses the Geatish Warrior, Beowulf, is a brave, self-sufficient and superhuman strength.

Throughout the poem, Beowulf has done several deeds. He demonstrates his bravery and loyalty to his people by battling against some of the most supernatural monsters, Grendel and Grendel’s mother and in the end the dragon. Beowulf shows his superhuman strength in lines (710-1007) when he is fighting Grendel and he rips off his arm with his bare hands and holds his breath for a superhuman length of time in Grendel’s mother’s underwater lair. Beowulf demonstrates his faith by giving thanks to God for his victories.

The last example of gender roles in Beowulf is when the Beowulf poet uses is Grendel’s mother. Even though she is primarily a monster, she plays a major role as a women. Grendel’s mother first enters her way into the town Herot when she finds out that the geatish warrior, Beowulf, had killed her son, Gendel. (put quotes in) In conclusion,”Beowulf” has many situations where men and women have many functions. One example is when the Beowulf poet uses the peaceweaver as one of the major roles of women.

Another example is when the Beowulf poet uses the Geatish Warrior, Beowulf, as brave, self-sufficient and superhuman strength.The last example is when the Beowulf poet uses is Grendel’s mother. So next time you are reading a poem, try finding good situations where men and women play roles in society.