Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of English
Susan M. Kim
This thesis examines the poems Beowulf and Judith with a focus on the ways in which peaceweavers and treasure objects are portrayed. In Old English texts, such as Beowulf, peaceweaving women have been compared to the role of treasure, with claims that peaceweavers act in the same way and perform the same duties as objects of exchange: they bring peace between men. By using an object-oriented perspective to examine the relationships between these agentive objects and the women objectified as such, I argue that a more nuanced understanding of women’s agency and power in early medieval England can be reached. If early medieval English women are objectified, they may also be interpreted as having agency (and power) on levels comparable to these trade objects, and thus comparable to that of men. Thus, in my thesis, I seek to answer the following question: What does it mean for a woman to be objectified if the object is agentive?
Parker, Alexa, "Treasure, Women, and Agency: Exploring Objectification in a World of Living Objects" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 1460.