The Representation of Evil, Women: And Women’s Expectations in Medieval and Beowulf/Green Knight.

Education has always been a critical issue in every developing culture. Education became more important throughout the Renaissance period. Since the dawn of time, men and women have been regarded differently, with many of the disparities being unfavorable against women. These distinctions also apply to education throughout the Renaissance period. Women have suffered much as a result of societal preconceptions and have missed out on wonderful possibilities just because they were unwelcome by males. Education was undoubtedly restricted from women throughout the 15th and 17th centuries, although the affluent and powerful may get some education; nevertheless, it was not always employed. It has been suggested that equality between men and women may have been attained during the Italian Renaissance. This is simply not feasible.

Opportunities came for the daughters of the wealthy, but what they were able to accomplish with that education went directly back to the conventional female position: housewife. They still confronted gender-specific decisions and obstacles. According to what we’ve been told, a woman’s duty in society is to bear the kid, ideally a boy, (Scene where the night is imagining how his life can go and in the vision where his lover had a baby and they take a newborn from her and shows how they use women as bearing and benefits for patriarchal systems.) and grow that child into a strong, educated individual who will contribute positively to society in some manner.

“By categorizing women based on their sexual roles, male philosophers emphasized obedience and virtue while promoting marriage and offspring as the ultimate goal.”

Judith Butler and Hurlburt

The above reveals a lot about Renaissance women. Women’s roles were extremely limited. Women were expected to be seen rather than heard. That is seldom observed. The ideal woman was to be prim and proper. Females could express themselves, but men controlled their thoughts and ideas. Men were involved in almost everything women did. Women were governed by their parents from the day they were born until they married when they were turned over to their husbands to take up that duty. Women were legally thought to belong to their husbands throughout the Renaissance period. Women were expected to be stereotypical ‘housewives.’ The preceding shows a great deal about Renaissance women. Women’s roles were severely restricted. Women were meant to be seen, not heard. That is unusually rare. The ideal lady was proper and prim. Females could express themselves, but men had control over their thoughts and ideas. Almost everything that women did, males were involved in.

Women were ruled by their parents from the day they were born until they married, at which point they were handed over to their husbands. Throughout the Renaissance period, women were legally considered to be the property of their husbands. Women were stereotyped as archetypal housewives. I will relate to the first reading of Beowulf in our class; the poems are pretty sexist in terms of word choice and language utilized; the ladies of Beowulf are represented as bedmates or spouses first and humans second. Even though the women in Beowulf had great power, such as Grendel’s mother, Wealhtheow, they were depicted as queens and bed partners. Wealhtheow was mostly described as our buddy. While reading, the first thing that sprang to me was why everyone appears to despise Grendel.

Grendel wasn’t born bad; yes, he was Cain’s descendant, but I’m the descendant of someone who despises animals, yet I’m now surrounded by them. Our parents do not shape who we are, yet in medieval renaissance civilization, your patrilineal line is everything. Grendel has been terrible since he was born to a nasty guy. But, if he were taken in and treated well, rather than being cast out by God and society, would he not be extremely human? Isn’t he like Beowulf, Hrothgar, or Breca? These can also be the Evil Woman’s Ca-notation on Eve and Adam’s make-notation on Evil. This can also be related to the green knight scenario in which the women seduce the knight. In my opinion, his mother wanted blood for her son’s death even more. A life for a life was the tradition. Sure, she might have requested money, but would Beowulf have given it to her? Or would she even be interested in money? Seeking vengeance for her son’s murder is roughly identical to what Beowulf was doing for Hrothgar. The women characters in Beowulf The poem have six female characters, who may be divided into three groups three. The first couple is the hosts, Wealhtheow and Hygd. Their main aim is to support their husbands and demonstrate male supremacy in the room. They have relatively little political clout. Wealhtheow aids in displaying the kingdom’s riches and kindness, but Hygd truly comes into her own following her husband’s death.

Thryth and Grendel’s mother are the beasts. In a period when femininity was for women and masculinity was for males, the two are more conventionally masculine. As a result, when women were masculine and men were feminine, they were exiled and stigmatized. These two women are authoritative and eager to act on their own; they are territorial and aggressive, much like the majority of males at the period. How many wars have been fought for territorial issues? It is vital to note, however, that the two ladies are opposed. Thryth is still active in society, whilst Grendel’s mother dwells on the outside.

Through her marriage, Thryth is reformed by society. Beowulf claims that following her marriage, she became less of a thorn in the flesh. She was commended only after being compelled to conform to a narrow definition of femininity. She’d been tamed. Grendel’s mother, too, was tamed, but only in death.She, unlike Thryth, was so far from reform that her only destination was death. She led a life that was opposed to what society expected. She was stigmatized for her background, her attitude, and her desire to avenge her son’s murder. The portrayal of women in it is not the author’s fault; that was simply the way things were. However, this does not mean that its female characters and how they are depicted are without criticism. Women are objects in Beowulf when they are at their finest. In the worst-case scenario, they are wicked monsters that must be dealt with.


Coverture: The word you probably don’t know but should. National Women’s History Museum. (2012, September 4). Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.womenshistory.org/articles/coverture-word-you-probably-dont-know-should#:~:text=Coverture%20held%20that%20no%20female,she%20married%2C%20by%20her%20husband.  

Migdol, E. (n.d.). What was Life like for women in the middle ages? Getty. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.getty.edu/news/what-was-life-like-for-women-in-the-middle-ages/  

Khan Academy. (n.d.). Art history | arts and humanities. Khan Academy. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history  

The Green Knight 3 quotes  

  • “The lord squeezed Gawain’s arm and seated him at his side,/ and called for the ladies to keep them company”  
  •  “buttocks bulging broad”   
  • The areas of Lady Bertilak’s body that Gawain chooses to discuss look to be exceedingly insulting; it appears as though he regards her body as a piece of meat. She is also known to dress promiscuously, exposing her naked back and breasts. 
  • “She sent me in this shape to your splendid hall to make trial of your pride”  
  • He says this after the Green Knight somewhat chastised Gawain. This essentially suggests that the Knight was not free to do what he did, but rather was highly influenced by le Fey. Le Fey made it appear to Gawain that he was completing some masculine, heroic goal while also letting the Green Knight feel in charge by exploiting his wife. 
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Assistant Prof @PlymouthState. Excited by Teaching, Shakespearing, Gaming. (they/them) #neurodivergent, #ActuallyAutistic.

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