In Beowulf, why does the Mer-wyf appear more threatening than her son based on the quote: The woman who usurps the male role appears monsterous?    

Expert Answers

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This is easy--she's way more dangerous than her son because she's a mother!  The idea is simple; she's fighting not just for herself but for the life of her child.  I know he's dead when she attacks, and that makes it even worse, for she's now also seeking revenge.  The fact that she raids the mead hall just to retrieve her son's detached arm is an indication of her intent to seek revenge.  No one should be surprised at the fierceness of the battle or the desperation with which she fights.  This is true for humans and animals, and it's obviously true of monsters, too.

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