Get help with any kind of assignment - from a high school essay to a PhD dissertation
Medieval Girls The roles of women in early Anglo-Saxon culture were rigorously defined. Women were seen as possessions and served the use of the peace-weaver. In this role women were married off to warring tribes to encourage peace and were to perform duties such as passing the cup from warrior to warrior during sexual functions. Girls in Anglo-Saxon culture possessed virtually no freedom and therefore were consistently in the mercy of their lords or even husbands. The sense of isolation and desperation felt by those women is captured in the "The Wife's Lament" as the speaker explains her inability to control her own circumstance. The feminine personalities Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru in Beowulf also display the limited role of women as peace-weavers. The sole female personality with some power in Beowulf is Grendel's mother, who retaliates for the death of her own son. The speaker of "The Wife's Lament" is a peace-weaver who has been left by her tribe. She describes how she has been separated from her husband and sent out "a friendless exile--to seek a household to shield [her against wretched need" (103). The exiled woman lives alone in the wilderness and reflects about the way in which the vow between she and her husband to stay together forever has been broken. The implication is that war has likely driven the couple apart as seen in the lines, "Far and near, I must endure the feud of my much-beloved" (103). It is clear that this woman has no control over what has happened to her and consequently is left to lament the loss of her love. Because she no longer has a husband, the speaker is without a role or place in society, and she cast out on her own. The stories of Hildeburh and Freawaru, as...