Throughout the history of literature, female characters are often side characters that do not get much recognition from readers. Further analysis of male-centric works, reveals that women play central roles in literature regardless of the proximity to the protagonist (oftentimes, male) who is struggling with internal and external conflicts. Many of these conflicts in literature lead to significant analysis of the moral fabric that defines such a character. For example, the epic of "Beowulf" is revered for its accounts of heroism and male comradery. Beowulf is a courageous hero who defeats three monsters for the sake of a nearby country. The women in "Beowulf" are overlooked; however, a close examination of the poetry demonstrates that the women play roles that are central to the story and to that of society. Three major women play integral roles throughout the epic: Wealhtheow, Grendel's Mother, and Hildeburh. These women entertain, bring peace, and contradict societal expectations of the female gender, either directly or indirectly. The epic of "Beowulf" illustrates three major roles for the women in the society: the hostess, the peacemaker, and the monster.
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