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A Comparison Of The Weavers Of Peace In Beowulf And Grendel

1998 words - 8 pages

The Weavers of Peace in Beowulf and Grendel    

 

Queen Wealhtheow and Queen Hygd served as excellent role models for the courts in which they served. They exemplified the mannerisms and etiquette of the noble people. Queen Wealhtheow showed excellent poise from the very beginning of both texts. She was admirable as she passed the mead bowl around Heorot. The offering of the bowl was symbolic, being that the bowl was first given to Hrothgar and then passed to Beowulf, as if she presented him with her trust. Beowulf gave Wealhtheow his guarantee that he would be successful or die in battle. After she presented Hrothgar and Beowulf with the mead bowl she served the ...view middle of the document...

"She had given, her life for those she loved. So would any simpering, eyelash batting female in her court, given the proper setup, the minimal conditions"(Grendel 102). It is ironic how she promoted peace from her arrival because she was an essential part in keeping peace, as the "weaver of peace" in both texts. Queen Wealhtheow however is not the only woman in the texts that was forsaken to encourage appeasement among feuding courts. Queen Hygd was offered to Hygelac under very similar circumstances as told in Beowulf, and portrayed the same role in Hygelac's kingdom. There is reference in both texts concerning this tradition, and it is evident to the reader that this is not an unusual Anglo-Saxon custom.

     Queen Wealhtheow and Queen Hygd served as excellent role models for the courts in which they served. They exemplified the mannerisms and etiquette of the noble people. Queen Wealhtheow showed excellent poise from the very beginning of both texts. She was admirable as she passed the mead bowl around Heorot. The offering of the bowl was symbolic, being that the bowl was first given to Hrothgar and then passed to Beowulf, as if she presented him with her trust. Beowulf gave Wealhtheow his guarantee that he would be successful or die in battle. After she presented Hrothgar and Beowulf with the mead bowl she served the Scyldings, and did so as if they were her own people. She was not a Scylding, nor did she desire to be one, but she never made her unhappiness known, as described in Grendel. There is not great detail on Queen Hygd in Grendel, but from what the reader can gather from Beowulf, she is as much of a female role model as Queen Wealhtheow. She was young but very intelligent. In fact King

Hygelac felt intimidated by Hygd’s intelligence.

Queen Hygd was unlike Wealhtheow in the way in which she did not bare many gifts. Hygd was more concerned about the future of the people of her kingdom succeeding Hygelac’s death than Wealhtheow. Hygd offered Beowulf the kingdom because she believed it was in the best interest of the people, she loved the warriors and wished peace among all the people. Wealtheow on the other hand felt that the kingdom should be preserved for her sons. Wealhtheow spoke after the "fight at Finnsburg" about the importance of her sons taking over the kingdom in the poem Beowulf, and this reminds Hrothgar of his age. This same speech affected Hrothgar in both texts. It forced him to contemplate his worthiness of Wealhtheow. He realized that she was young and beautiful, and need not be with an old man. Which made his sorrow even worse is the fact that she knew all this as well.

     Queen Wealhtheow put up an excellent disguise when hiding the pain she experienced from being forced to be Hrothgar’s wife. Unlike in Beowulf, in Grendel the reader was given insight into Wealhtheow's sorrow. The only time she would display her unhappiness was when she would lie in bed at night...

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