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The Two Faces Of Women Essay

2248 words - 9 pages

Unlike Grendel’s Mother, Welthow exemplifies the portrayal of women as compliant and duteous. “Women in Medieval Society: No Voice, No Choice” explains that, “A woman was always subservient to a man, whether husband, father, or brother” (80). Welthow is the wife of King Hrothgar. She makes a short appearance in Beowulf, and is considered the mistress in Hereot Hall. The author of Beowulf refers to Welthow as a “Peace-weaver.” A peace weaver in the Anglo-Saxon period is considered to be a woman who marries a member of an enemy tribe or nation in order to end the feud between the two in the hopes of providing peace. The fact that Welthow is a peace-weaver brings more emphasis to her being a proper woman. She voluntarily decided to marry King Hrothgar as a means to end a feud, and this action is that of a proper and gentle woman. All of Welthow’s actions show that she obedient, submissive and most of all, proper. Welthow tends to all of King Hrothgar’s needs when he needs her; she is considered a peace-weaver because she tries to cater to everyone’s needs and attempts to restore reconciliation between people. When King Hrothgar holds a feast for Beowulf and his men, Welthow walks around and provides assistance to any man who needs it. This is shown when the author writes, “Then Welthow, / Hrothgar’s gold-ringed queen, greeted / The warriors; a noble woman who knew / what was right, she raised a flowing cup / To Hrothgar first, holding it high / For the Lord of the Danes to drink, wishing him / Joy in that feast” (345-351). Her action toward the warriors and her husband proves that of an excellent woman. The author states that she is, “a noble woman who knew / What was right,” which shows that she knows what her role as a woman is (347-348). She is supposed to cater to her husband’s every need. After King Hrothgar drinks from the cup and blesses Beowulf and his men, “Then Welthow went from warrior to warrior, / Pouring a portion from the jeweled cup / For each, till the bracelet wearing queen / had carried the mead cup among them” (353-356). By pouring mead for every warrior, Welthow is exemplifying actions of a suitable and respectable wife and woman. After Welthow is done pouring mead for all of the men, “she saluted the Geats” (357). This action displays that Welthow is supportive and respects all of the things that her husband, Beowulf and the warriors are doing. She stands by her husband’s side during his time of crisis. Author Gardener shows this when she states, “Welthow is all too aware of the importance of her role as woman, queen and peace-weaver and she strives to balance her wisdom, grace, and deliberation with orders, boldness and action” (Gardener 10). Welthow is the complete embodiment of grace and hospitality as she walks around Hereot Hall and pours mead for Beowulf and all of his men. Welthow is everything that a queen and woman of time should aspire to be, unlike Grendel’s Mother who is dominant and unpleasant, while Welthow is...

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