Beowulf.docx - Audrey Wise ENL Women in Beowulf Beowulf is...

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Audrey Wise ENL Women in Beowulf Beowulf is an old, epic poem centered on a single powerful man and his heroic deeds and battles. The women in this tale are mentioned only upon a few minor occasions and are often overlooked as seemingly unimportant to the main plot. However, upon careful inspection, it is clear that these women are mentioned for a reason. While they are not central to the main plot, they represent an important role and unique power as preservers of peace and reminders of the code of honor. One such woman is Wealhtheow, Queen of the Danes and wife to Kind Hrothgar. It is her duty to provide council and support to her husband. She upholds the social customs and reminds the warriors of the codes by which they live. She establishes the status of men in the court and acts as an extension of the King’s power. With grace and tact, Queen Wealhtheow represents the perfect hostess, wife, and lady of the court. Wealhtheow’s first introduction takes place during a great banquet held in honor of Beowulf and his men’s arrival at the court of the King Hrothgar. She enters, “observing the courtesies. Adorned in her gold, and graciously saluted the men in the hall” (Beowulf 612-15). As Queen and lady of the land, it is Wealhtheow’s duty to act as gracious host. Thus, she enters the hall and politely and gracefully welcomes her King’s guests. She greets the guests and then acts as a cup bearer. She walks around the tables of the room, “offering the goblet to all ranks” (Beowulf 622). We are not told how many men there are, but it is the Queens duty to welcome and serve them all. As the Queen passes through the
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  • Summer '07
  • Pugh
  • Wealhtheow, Queen Wealhtheow

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