The Sexuality Of Women In Beowulf: Film vs. Print

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In the movie Beowulf, the women are depicted differently than in the poem. The women in Anglo Saxon culture had more power than demonstrated in the movie. For example, the servant in the Mead Hall is clearly objectified. She is wearing a tight dress with her breasts showing, wanting to gain attention from the men. While she is washing the table, she is bending over so her breasts are exposed. All the men are surrounding her and staring. The main reason for the servant being at the Mead Hall is so the workingmen can look at her. The men are only interested in the servant in a sexual way. An example of this is when a working man states, “…No wonder my loins are burning.” He wants his sexual desires to be completed by the servant. He is treating the woman as a toy to use for his pleasures. Similar to the oppressed servant, the other women in the movie Beowulf are also depicted in a more sexual way than in the epic. Two such women, Wealctheow and Grendel, respond to their oppression differently. Wealctheow resists oppression from Hrothgar; Grendel’s mother uses her objectification and sexuality to gain power and control.

Wealctheow resists objectification when she is married to Hrothgar. In the beginning scene, during a sumptuous feast in the Heoret Hall, Hrothgar is very drunk. Wealctheow tells her he wants a kiss. Courageously, the queen disobeys the king and tells him to stop. She even decides to spit at the king, which shows a lack of respect. In another scene, Hrothgar wants to go to sleep, so he takes Wealctheow’s wrist. Again, the queen defies the king’s objectification by disobeying him and hitting him. Hrothgar wants to use Wealctheow as an object and have sex with her; however, she stands up for herself ...

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...dition, the powerful woman is a monster in this movie. This is clearly saying that if a female gains power, she will not use it wisely. In conclusion, there are two ways to deal with oppression: manipulate your objectification to your power and be seen as evil or try to resist, but end up doing nothing to help the situation. Women still face this problem today, although there are other alternatives to dealing with this. For example, Rosa Parks, an assertive woman who dealt with white oppression, decided not to give up her seat on the bus. During this time, it was seen very controversial and she was jailed for protesting. She was given a malign reputation, even though she is seen today as a hero from the Civil Right Movement. If one resists and perseveres then one may prevail over oppression. This may not be an easy alternative, but it can be rewarding.

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