Wealhtheow in Beowulf
By Jennifer Michelle Gardner
Abstract: This historical novella charts the events as they unfold within Beowulf through the eyes of the minor character Wealhtheow, Hrothgar’s Helming Queen. The novella tries to remain as historically accurate to the culture of fifth and sixth century Scandinavia, for this is when most scholars agree the historical events of Beowulf unfolded. This fictional account of the Beowulf-poem presents the story within a different genre in hopes of creating an environment that is vivid and more easily accessible to modern readers, especially young adult readers, not only referencing Scandinavian culture but also the role of Anglo-Saxon women.
[Snip] Introduction: My goal in writing this fictional novella is twofold: to make Beowulf more accessible to modern readers and to expound upon the less articulated female point of view in the poem. As a result, I try to create a culture that is as vibrant as the reader’s own and transmit the plausible thoughts and actions of a woman living in Scandinavia during the fifth and sixth centuries. Thomas Prendergast states that “Beowulf has a bad reputation,” because of the “lack of pleasure that readers take in the Anglo-Saxon work” (129). I want to change this perception for those who are familiar with Beowulf and for future readers of the poem.
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