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The Images of Dangerous Women in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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In Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, women are portrayed as kind of peace-makers, clever, and child-bearers. But, throughout both stories they certainly reveal women as much more than that. In any case, these ladies were something beyond shrewd players in the plot of the ballad Sir Gawain and the Green Knight-they utilize their capacities and wants to fuel the occasions of the story. These ladies are instances of how ladies can have opportunity and control even inside the profoundly compelling, man centric build of Medieval Times. All through Medieval Literature, mainly in Arthurian legends like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the female characters, Morgan leFay, Guinevere, and the Lady are not depicted as people but, however as the outside world believes what a lady ought to be.

In Sir Gawan and the Green Knight, Morgan leFay portrays the “dangerous woman” of this sonnet. Morgan receives little to no book time, yet has a major role due to the introduction of her. Morgan’s main task in the poem “enchant” and be the monster behind many evil intends throughout the poem. LeFay “guided in this guise to great hall to put pride on trial, and to test with his trick”(Lines 2456-2457). Morgan has dissenting impact on many of the opposing characters throughout Sir Gawan and the Green Knight. Many describe her as a lovely “goddess” with “no nobleness” who cannot take nor tame”(Line 2452). Even though Morgan is described with affirmative adjectives, she is still one of the main protagonists throughout the sonnet. Morgan is said to “imagine this mischief would muddle minds”(Line 2459). That being so, LeFay kind of serves as a “siren”(mythological creature that lures people to their death).

Morgan portrays a siren by using her powers with the bad intention to make others do her horrible work for her. Morgan camouflages herself as the elderly person, and changes a character into the Green Knight, and puts a spell on the support. Morgan LeFay, additionally like Grendel’s mom conveys a heavenly vibe to her with the utilization of her forces to control others. For that reason, Morgan conveys an otherworldly trademark in this ballad. Both Grendel’s mom and Morgan LeFey are perilous ladies and fill in as the little job, huge rival in both of their accounts. One by controlling or enchanting different characters to do the malevolent she needs to be doneto and one by combating for her child and possibly causing him extreme damage and harm.

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I believe in Beowulf, Wealhtheow, Queen of the Spear-Danes and wife to King Hrothgar serves as a character with a positive tone, a sort of mistress of the hall, and helper in establishing the “brotherly love” of Geats and Danes. After the people were singing and playing to please the hero Beowulf for slaying the monster Grendel at Hereot, the king’s poet performed his part. Following Wealtheow stated: “Enjoy this drink, my generous lord; raise up your goblet, entertain the Geats duly and gently, discourse with them, be open-handed, happy and fond. Relish their company but recollect as well all of the boons that have been bestowed on you. The bright court of Heorot has been cleansed and now the word is that you want to adopt this warrior as a son. So, while you may, bask in your fortune, and then bequeath kingdom and nation to your kith and kin, before your decease. I am certain of Hrothulf. He is noble and will use the young ones well. He will not let you down. Should you die before him, he will treat our children truly and fairly. He will honor, I am sure, our two sons, repay them in kind, when he recollects all the good things we gave him once, the favor and respect he found in his childhood.”(Lines 1168-1186)

With this, it likewise points out the parallel between the story that has quite recently been told about Hildeburh and the demise of her children and sibling and Wealhtheow’s own children and their uncle. But since the capacity of this change is hazy in the content itself. Next, Grendel and Grendel’s mother. Despite the fact that Grendel’s mom was a minor character in this story and later was killed by Beowulf she passed on herself as a risky lady by assuming the errand of avenging her late child and going to fight to crush her youngster’s executioner. Not very far into the sonnet, Beowulf and Grendel’s mom have the retribution fight where Grendel’s mom figures out how to ‘merciless hold,’ (Line 1502) Beowulf into her ‘lunge and clutch’ (Line 1501) however her ‘savage claws neglected to tear the snare of his war shirt’ (Lines 1504-1505). So once Grendel was developed as the demon, monstrous, evil character his mother took on that sense of characteristics with that being her son and described in wretched ways in the story. Grendel’s mother also carries a supernatural feel to the poem. Grendel’s mother lives in an “outlandish lair” (Line 1500) and a lair tends to connote with supernatural creatures, beings, or phenomenon. Also her son is referenced to supernatural creatures and it ties into his mother. The two keep on doing combating, however Beowulf figures out how to kill Grendel’s mom with a ‘sharp edge, an antiquated legacy’ (Lines 1557-1558) and ‘swung the cutting edge in a bend, a steadfast blow that bit profound into her neck bone’ (Lines 1564-1566). Grendel’s mom conveys a negative portrayal all through the whole story. She is portrayed as a ‘massive lady of the hour.’ Grendel and his mom were the ‘followers of Cain’ they were abhorred and looked after for Grendel’s sequential executioner murders. Grendel was portrayed as an evil presence, an ‘atrocious heart’ (Line 166), and had a ‘fatherless creature’ (Line 1355).

As Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Night show, both men and women have extreme power and importance. Although the power of women differs from that of the men’s power, it is still an important part of both stories. The main inspiration for ladies’ powers to change is that the extension and states of these ladies will be increasingly steady and give these ladies a more prominent opportunity to express their capacity. In both stories the women kind of play the roles of supremacy and conspiracy, whereas the men are portrayed as heroic characters. Even though the roles of the women differ from story to story, Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Night equally insult women and portray them as characters of the”supernatural”.

​Works Cited

  1. Arkin, Lili. “The Role of Women in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Lili Arkin, ‘The Role of Women in _Sir Gawain and the Green Knight_’, 4 May 1995,​.
  2. Porter, Dorothy C. “The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf: A New Context.” The Heroic Age: The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf, Western Michigan University, Aug. 2001, ​​.
  3. Simpson, James, and Alfred David. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ninth ed., A, Norton, 2012.
  4. Yewdaev, Renee. “A Woman’s Duty.” Beowulf, ​​l

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The Images of Dangerous Women in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“The Images of Dangerous Women in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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