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Cluster Presentation. Austin Chute Peter Benson. Women and their Gender Roles. Through a masculine or feminine gender role, women are either punished or accepted . Outcome not solely dependent on gender role. Women in feminine gender roles. Kriemhild Hrothgar’s Queen Alcestis Ismene.

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cluster presentation

Cluster Presentation

Austin Chute

Peter Benson

women and their gender roles
Women and their Gender Roles
  • Through a masculine or feminine gender role, women are either punished or accepted.
    • Outcome not solely dependent on gender role.
women in feminine gender roles
Women in feminine gender roles
  • Kriemhild
  • Hrothgar’s Queen
  • Alcestis
  • Ismene
  • Kriemhild from the Nibelungenlied
    • “Kriemhild is introduced as a beautiful maiden that all nobles desired. The author could not, however, go beyond Kriemhild's beauty. No matter what they were talking about in the book, Kriemhild always had a word describing her beauty when she was being referred to. Her beauty was known throughout the kingdoms surrounding Burgundy, and she seemed to be the only reason knights and nobles traveled there. At least that's how it was for Siegfried”(Direct Essays).
    • “He leapt at Kriemhild in fury and struck the Queen with a heavy swing of his sword. She winced in dread of Hildebrand- but what could her loud shrieks avail her?” (Hatto 291).
  • Killed by Hildebrand
hrothgar s queen
Hrothgar’s Queen
  • Hrothgar’s Queen (Wealhtheow)
    • “As decorative items, the medieval noblewomen depicted in Beowulf are primarily responsible for appearing "queenly and dignified"(621), thus reflecting well on their husbands' status and image. Hrothgar's queen Wealhtheow, who first appears during the reception feast Hrothgar gives in honor of Beowulf, is portrayed as such an accessory”(Fridriksdottir).
    • “Phrases such as "adorned in her gold"(614) and "decked out in rings"(621) emphasize Wealhtheow's role as a glittering ornament rather than a queen, wife, or mother” (Fridriksdottir).
  • Kriemhild
    • Kriemhild was a typical objectified woman throughout this story, yet in the end she is still killed.
  • Hrothgar’s Queen
    • Nothing bad specifically happens to her as she is portrayed as a typical woman. She was accepted because she stayed in her role.
  • When Kriemhild steps out of her role she dies, The Queen stayed in her role and lived.
    • Kriemhild was more of an object of affection throughout the story, and Hrothgar’s Queen was mentioned in passing
ismene and alcestis
Ismene and Alcestis
  • Ismene
    • "Remember we are women, we're not born to contend with men. Then too, we're underlings, ruled by much stronger hands, so we must submit in this and things still worse" (Sophocles 62).
    • Her whole family dies
  • Alcestis
    • “I have honored you, and at the price of my life I have caused you to look upon this light. For your sake I die, though I could have survived and married any Thessalian I wished and lived in a house happy with Kingship” (Alcestis 284-288).
    • Submissive and willing to die for the husband
    • Brought back to life
    • Accepted for her good deed as a loving wife
women in masculine gender roles
Women in Masculine Gender Roles
  • Brunhild
  • Radegund
  • Antigone
  • Medea
  • Clytemnestra
  • Brunhild
    • “Alas,’ thought the hero, ‘if I now lose my life to a girl, the whole sex will grow uppish with their husbands for ever after, though they would otherwise never behave so’” (Hatto 92).
    • “He tried to win her by force, and tumbled her shift for her, at which the haughty girl reached for the girdle of stout silk cord that she wore about her waist, and subjected him to great suffering and shame: for in return for being baulked of her sleep, she bound him hand and foot, carried him to a nail, and hung him on the wall” (Hatto 88).
    • Strong like a man and didn’t want to be treated like a woman
    • Raped and loses her strength
  • Radegund
    • “Radegund’s achievements as queen and saint were widely celebrated. Like Clothild before her, she self-consciously played the role of a Christian queen in conjunction with the local ecclesiastical establishment. She is perhaps the most richly documented individual of her time” (McNamara et. Al. page 89).
    • Stepped outside her role of typical woman
    • Accepted
  • Antigone
    • “These laws- I was not about to break them, not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride, and face the retribution of the gods” (Sophocles 82).
    • “This girl was an old hand at insolence when she overrode the edicts we made public. But once she had done it- the insolence, twice over- to glory in it, laughing, mocking us to our face with what she’d done” (83).
    • Steps outside her Gender Role and challenges the King
    • Sentenced to death, kills herself
  • Medea
    • “Woman in most respects is a timid creature, with no heart for strife and aghast at the sight of steel: but wronged in love, there is no heart more murderous than hers” (Euripides 43).
    • “Of all creatures that can feel and think, we women are the worst treated things alive” (31).
    • Takes matters into her own hands
      • Murders her children
      • Punishes herself to punish Jason
  • Clytemnestra
    • "Men it is in their nature, trampling on the fighter once he's down" (Agamemnon 873-874).
    • Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon right when he returns from a long ten year war.
    • She acts like a man would, according to her definition
    • She kills Agamemnon and fulfills the male gender role of taking power and control.
    • Then gets murdered by Orestes.
  • Through masculine or feminine gender roles, women were either punished or accepted
  • Evident in Ethics of the Barbarian World and Greek Tragedy
  • Through fulfilling or changing their gender roles, these women were accepted or punished by the community
  • Aeschylus. Aeschylus: The Oresteia. Trans. Robert Fagles. England: Penguin Books, 1977. Print.
  • Beowulf: Female Roles in Warrior Culture. (2012).
  • Beowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2000. Print.
  • Euripides. Ten Plays by Euripides. Trans. Moses Hades and John McLean. New York: Random
  • House, 2006. Print.
  • Fridriksdottir, Johanna Katrin. Women in Old Norse Literature: Bodies, Words, and Power. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Nibelungenlied.Trans. A.T. Hatto. London: Penguin Books, 2004. Print.
  • Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays. Trans Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Classics, 1984.
  • Print
  • The Burgundian Code: Book of Constitutions or Law of Gundobad. Trans. Katherine Fischer Drew.
  • Philidalphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Print.
  • The Nibelungenlied: The Portrayal of Women. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved
  • 23:35, May 16, 2013, from
  • Thomas, Emma Jane. (2012). The 'second Jezebel': Representations of the sixth-century Queen Brunhild.
  • University of Glasgow. doi: