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Beowulf Women Analysis

Good Essays
In the poem, Beowulf, the presence of women is limited to a few passages. Although the main focus revolves around Beowulf, the poet helps readers understand the expectations of women in power. The poem makes it clear that Kings and Queens are supposed to act differently. Their superiority is seen through their words and actions. The presence of Hygd and Modthryt is included to address the proper behavior of women. By using uplifting and hostile diction as well as contrasting the image of Queen Hygd to Queen Modthryt, Beowulf highlights the ideal representation of women in the Anglo-Saxon hierarchy. The differences portrayed in these women advocate the importance of maintaining traditional gender roles in order to conserve a functional society…show more content…
Queen Modthryht’s image is tainted with the negative characteristics associated with her abilities to rule. For instance, when Queen Modthryht is introduced, she is immediately accused of “[perpetrating] terrible wrongs” (1932). The usage of hostile diction suggests that the Queen is guilty of committing heinous acts. These words cause the reader to question her abilities to rule, as well as cause resentment toward her character. While Queen Hygd is perceived as helpful and kind to her people, Queen Modthryth kills anyone who looks at her straight in the eyes, with the exception of her Lord (1933-1936). The gruesome diction that was used to describe the death of men such as, “tortured,” “blood-gush,” and “racked” suggests the cruelty and wickedness behind the immoral Queen (1937, 1939). The negativity behind these words reflects poorly on the Queen and suggests she is cold-hearted and abusive. The poem reminds the reader that, “A Queen should weave-peace, not punish the innocent” (1942). When a Queen fails to be compassionate and peaceful, she is not fulfilling her expected role as a woman. The anger and destructiveness Queen Modthrtht possesses indicate that she is not worthy of being praised. The poem signals that women who do not follow…show more content…
Most characteristics utilized to present Queen Hygd distinguish her as one of a kind. Since, the Queen is said to be generous and fair, it is inferred that she knows how to treat her people. The use of diction is important because it either hints that a Queen is ideal or not. All hostile diction used to describe Queen Modthryt infers that women should not behave in a hateful manner or else they will be criticized. The poet hints that a woman should not possess destructive characteristics because it is her duty to be gentle and attentive. While contrasting Queen Hygd and Queen Modthryt, it is important to note that their marital status helped their image of being compassionate or treacherous. The role of men is emphasized because it hints that a man is necessary to keep a women well-behaved. The poet suggests that women are highly dependent on men because they know how to guide. Only if a woman follows the righteous ways of a man will they be able to positively lead a society. The role of a man is stressed because he will use his dominance and reason to eliminate the bad in women for the good of the
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