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An Analysis of the Role of the Queen in Beowulf and Grendel

In both texts, Beowulf and Grendel, the main purpose of the Queen's are to serve the courts as "weavers of peace". In Grendel however, Queen Wealththeow is described in much greater detail and serves a further purpose. The reader gains insight to a part Grendel that is not present in Beowulf, his desire for a human. It was not unusual for women to be offered as tokens of peace within the noble courts. In the novel Grendel, Wealhtheow's brother, King of the Helmings, bestowed her to King Hrothgar to promote peace amongst the Helmings and Scyldings. "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, p.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 the later of both texts. Queen Wealhtheow however is not the only woman in the texts that was forsaken to encourage appeasement amongst feuding courts. Queen Hygd was offered to Hygelac under very similar circumezces 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 s...

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