Boasting In Beowulf

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The heated and tense exchanged between Beowulf and Unferth in the poem “Beowulf” gives the reader a distinct and obvious presentation of boasting. The author, an anonymous poet, uses boasting heavily in the dialogue between the heroic warrior Beowulf, and cowardly kings servant Unferth. We see that boasting exclaims the warrior status, strength and pride whilst being an acceptable and expected notion in old Anglo-Saxon times. In other words, the use of boasting acted almost like a qualification for a job interview. In this essay, I intend to describe how the exchange between Beowulf and Unferth in lines 499 to 610 suggests about the function of boasting in this old period of time. The key term, boasting, is a major essence of the dialogue in…show more content…
This set the context and tone of the scene as heated and tense – due to the fact no one has ever questioned Beowulf’s boastful claims as he has held his name high as a strong and worthy warrior. Another reason that this scene had the essence of tense is due to the fact that Boasts were taken seriously. Boasts were considered to be serious claims that unless were proven, could face consequences. Unferth exclaims to all the others in the hall the failures that Beowulf endured in the swimming contest, and how if he could lose in a swimming contest, then how could he beat Grendel? Unferth continues to mock Beowulf, “no one has ever outlasted an entire night against Grendel (Lines 527 – 528). When Beowulf begins to speak and address Unferth, he makes a simple remark of how Unferth was simply drunk (Line 530-533). Beowulf addresses the claims and agrees that yes, he did lose the swimming contest, but explains, in great detail, how he saved his friend Breca and fought 9 sea monsters that dragged him to the bottom of the sea, swimming with his armour and sword. Although Beowulf lost the race, in Beowulf’s eyes, he won because he acted with valour and loyalty. This shows that Beowulf is not only strong… but honourable and worthy to fight Grendel. The King accepts his boasting grace and offers Beowulf the opportunity to slay Grendel – a great honour for

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