Many modern-day critics who study the writings of the Anglo-Saxon period have commented on the apparent mistreatment or exclusion of women from society. The issue of gender roles and stereotypes is one that isconstantly debated, specifically as it pertains to the relationship between women and power. This includes both their physical power or strength, and their capacity to influence and cause change. Because Old English literature was mainly recorded by men and “focuses largely on [the] masculine”1, it is easy to feel that women were lessimportant, or that their experiences have been overlooked. However, after a close reading of both the epic Beowulf and the poem “Wulf and Edwacer,” it becomes clear that women bore a great deal of power and sway, often more than men and sometimes more than entire tribes or clans. First will be an exploration of the might of Grendel’s mother and her dominance inseparable from her femaleness; second will be an evaluation of the power over courtand kingdom held by Queen Wealhtheow; and finally will be a consideration of the peaceweavers in both texts, and their strength and bravery when facing the almost-impossible task of uniting enemies.
"The Importance of Women in Anglo-Saxon Society as Portrayed through Literature,"
The Compass: Vol. 1
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarworks.arcadia.edu/thecompass/vol1/iss2/5