Grendel And Unferth In Beowulf

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Unferth, a seemingly noble follower of the Hrothgar, is introduced in the story as Grendel continues to terrorize the meadhalls and attempts to stand up to the monster. As Unferth makes his way to slay the “monster” Grendel talks back to him and mocks him for his heroism. Unferth only sees Grendel as a demon, and for him to be able to speak the same language he does, surprises him. Grendel continues to mock Unferth’s heroism by saying how awful it is to always be perfect and never slip up. Unferth’s battle with Grendel soon turns into a battle with himself. During the Twelve Years War, Unferth goes back to fight Grendel time and time again but only to be spared by him. Unferth hates both that he cannot kill the monster, and that the monster…show more content…
Though Unferth is strong physically, he is not strong enough mentally to understand that he and a monster could ever have similarities. “Except in the life of a hero, the whole world’s meaningless”, says Unferth only contradicting himself. He, a “hero”, accepts the idealism of nihilism; that everything is meaningless except to be a hero. Grendel knows Unferth’s true self. He knows, and says repeatedly, that Unferth is no hero, he is only a “poor miserable virgin” who wishes to clear his name and defeat Grendel to do so; to “make his reputation”. Each time Unferth goes to fight Grendel in his cave, he is carried back to the meadhall by Grendel untouched and unharmed. But really Unferth’s battle is not to kill Grendel; it is that he keeps going back to try to prove to himself that he is a hero, but everytime when he loses, he is forced to look into the mirror of himself of which is Grendel. Each time he is forced to the realization that he has Grendel inside of him. While Grendel calls himself “evil” in his thoughts and acts the way to humans, his true nature is not. Just as Unferth calls himself “heroic” and tries to act when he goes back to face Grendel, his true nature is

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