Beowulf And The Destruction Of Feminine Power

1453 words - 6 pages

Beowulf is an epic story that tells many things in ways that are not obvious if the symbols used are not recognized and placed within an accurate context. It is, among other things, a story of dragons and battles, Christianity versus paganism, and the story of a man and his pride. It is also a story about the evils of and the destruction of feminine power.
Because of historical context, it is helpful to understand the period of its writing and similar stories in history. For the scope of this discussion, comparisons against Arthurian lore are used as well as religious historical context. Beowulf was written, at best guess, between 800 and 1100 CE while Arthurian lore was established in the fifth century, three to six centuries earlier. Because of the nature of oral story-telling and culture, sufficient time will have passed and provided ample opportunity for elements of Arthurian lore to be used in Beowulf. They both contain dragons, magical swords received by a female figure in a lake, and strong references to Christianity. Because of religious historical context, these symbols also carried with them contexts that are religious in nature.
Some of the symbols used for feminine power are swords, any body of water or division of the earth, the night or moon, and the dragon. Swords, sun or daytime, hands, Christianity, God, and lord are all symbols of masculine power. It is important to realize that a symbol of gender can also stand in for a person figure. As such, hands can stand in for a male presence and a lake is interchangeable for a feminine presence.
It is also critical to note that the context of a symbol changes the gender representation of that symbol. A sword in a cave becomes a feminine power but when held by a man, it reverts to a masculine power. Marriage transforms feminine power into an extension of masculine power. The dragon under the lake is transformed into the biblical dragon Tiamat while simultaneously transforming the sword into a representation of Jesus Christ. This method of context transformation is consistent throughout the epic and can be applied at any point to accurately see the underlying meaning.
Near the beginning of the story, the context of masculine versus feminine power is clearly set. The mead hall is clearly a place of male bonding and is therefore a seat of masculine power. Grendel, a creature who represents feminine power, attacks under the cover of night and does so for twelve years. It is not impossible that the timeframe of “twelve years” is significant as the feminine cycle is considered to be a lunar month and therefore the measure of the life of a mature woman is measured in months with twelve months in a year. Grendel is further described as having dominion over borders, moors, hollows, and fens. All of these are divisions of land (feminine) and therefore makes Grendel an authority of feminine power. Because Grendel and his mother are both representations of feminine power and are descendents...

Find Another Essay On Beowulf and the Destruction of Feminine Power

The Masculine Sacrifices of Feminine Manipulation and Critique

2551 words - 11 pages Ernest Hemingway, an American Novelist writes in ways which “uses a plain, forceful prose style characterized by simple sentences and few adjectives or adverbs. He writes crisp, accurate dialogue and exact descriptions of places and things” (Kramer), to reflect his thoughts and life lessons. Hemingway apart of what is considered the “lost generation” writes a vast amount on the society that exists during the time of the World Wars and how they

The Unquestionable Relationship of Love and Destruction

817 words - 4 pages Could there be a link between love and destruction that might relate them to each other? The Great Gatsby, wrote by F. Scott Fitzgerald, significantly shows this direct link. Incapable of forgetting Daisy’s love, Jay Gatsby looms over events of the past and attempts to revive the vanished love of this now married woman. Although Gatsby acquires wealth, status, and all the things Daisy wishes to possess, she is now married, which ultimately

Law: The Risk of Destruction and Deterioration

720 words - 3 pages The issue in this case is whether the risk of destruction and deterioration had passed onto Bagio, the buyer, or remained with ProformAgric, the seller. Generally, risk and benefit pass to the buyer on transfer of possession and ownership (assuming these occur simultaneously). The general rule is that the risk and benefit pass to the buyer as soon as the sale is “perfecta”, meaning that the agreement is unconditional and the identity, quality

The Cycle of Destruction and Redemption

2010 words - 8 pages The Cycle of Destruction and RedemptionIn our world where crime is becoming a way of life, how do we seize to believe that true happiness is still achievable? The Shakespearean play, The Tempest, embodies that despite the wrongdoings committed by humans, a small act of forgiveness is key to happiness and tranquillity. The play is a perfect representation of everyday struggles that humans go through and therefore can relate to. In it we

The Cycle of Destruction and Redemption

2010 words - 8 pages The Cycle of Destruction and RedemptionIn our world where crime is becoming a way of life, how do we seize to believe that true happiness is still achievable? The Shakespearean play, The Tempest, embodies that despite the wrongdoings committed by humans, a small act of forgiveness is key to happiness and tranquillity. The play is a perfect representation of everyday struggles that humans go through and therefore can relate to. In it we

The Exploitation and Destruction of Mount Everest

1455 words - 6 pages 10 to 14 uses, and a sturdy design, the CMC sure beats using a brown paper bag. While summiting Everest can be one of life’s greatest achievements, and while tourism in the Everest region provides income for some of the poorest people in the world, the increasing number of visitors is paving a path to destruction. The impact of tourism in the Himalayas proves to be quite the conundrum for governments and citizens of Nepal and Tibet, tourists

Illegal Immigration and the Destruction of America

1584 words - 6 pages Former President Grover Cleveland once said, “Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” While this is true, the immigrants, who built this country, came legally. Immigrants create a diverse country and build up a great nation like America. On the other hand, illegal immigrants tear down a country economically. Illegal immigration to the United States creates a variety

Technology and the Destruction of Impatient Americans

2615 words - 10 pages In the book “A social history of American Technology”, Ruth Schwartz Cowen states that “Technology hasn’t made us impatient. Society in not controlled by society, but society is controlled by technology.” Undoubtedly, Americans are the most impatient people in the world, because of technology. America is the country of capitalism. It’s all about creating revenue and making profit. Two of the biggest innovators of the 20th century are Bill Gates

Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Beowulf and Caedmon’s Hymn

2319 words - 9 pages the monster:                                       The Lord then ruled all the race of men,              as He still does now (1057ff)   These passages illustrate one scholar’s interpretation: “The Beowulf poet, too, makes his heroes refer again and again to the power and providence of a single God, and he takes Beowulf’s victory as a sign that ‘God has always ruled mankind, as he still does’” (Frank 58). God’s power and

Symbols of Feminine Power in Their Eyes Were Watching God

2873 words - 11 pages Symbols of Feminine Power in Their Eyes Were Watching God       Much evidence supports Saturday Review writer Doris Grumbach's opinion that Their Eyes Were Watching God is "the finest black novel of its time" and "one of the finest of all time" (Washington, 4). Zora Neale Hurston's text is highly regarded because of the meaning and purpose it conveys using poetic language and folkloric imagery. It is the heroic story of Janie Crawford's

The Impact of Destruction

1188 words - 5 pages American history” (Houston x). In the novel Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, is a traumatizing story Jeanne experienced and wrote down, to be remembered in the future of a historical context. Manzanar represented different areas of Ko Wakatsuki (Papa) and Jeanne Wakatsuki's unique personalities to bring about both destruction and growth, and simultaneously offer influence in each other's characters. The impact of

Similar Essays

The Destruction Of The Feminine In Shakespeare's Work

8477 words - 34 pages has its laws that every individual has to respect and before which every individual has equal rights, not every individual possesses the same amount of power in the society he lives in, which is a crutial factor in the establishing of social order. Those who have less power are in an inferior position to those who are influential and have more power. That way a gap is formed. " Justice", as Bond says,"is not an objective effect, a natural relation

The Destruction Of The Feminine And Triumph Of Society: Homosexuality In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall Of The House Of Usher”

1430 words - 6 pages in opposition to death, and by the end of the story, they overwhelm any masculine threat that appeared in the story. The pervading presence of woman in the interior and exterior of the Usher Manor is indicative of Roderick’s feminine qualities. Ultimately, Roderick’s inability to deal with his homosexuality- indicated by the house and Roderick himself- leads to the destruction of the “House of Usher” by those tendencies he tried to suppress

The Power Of Self Destruction In Shakespeare's Othello

910 words - 4 pages interwoven themes in Othello, The primary theme of Othello is the power of self-destruction caused by the struggles of self and social identity, because of Othello’s, insecurities, narcissistic behavior, and his need for control. Othello’s own insecurities lead to his self-destruction. Porter writes, Othello is uncomfortable and insecure within the world of Venetians society (30), which ultimately makes him feel as an outsider. If not for his

Restraint Of Feminine Power In Kubla Kahn, Heart Of Darkness, And Death Constant Beyond Love

1656 words - 7 pages Feminine power has long struck awe into the very heart of humanity. From modern believers in a single female God to the early Pagan religions, which considered every woman a goddess due to the mysterious and god-like power of the “sacred feminine” to create life, people of various faiths and time periods have revered the powers of womanhood. In traditional American culture, however, women are supposedly powerless and fragile, and men
what is economics - 1109 Words | Pil Şarj Vakası | Nouveaux objets