Unferth In Beowulf

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Unferth is a character from the epic poem Beowulf and a prominent character in the novel Grendel by John Gardner. While the poem focuses mainly on the heroic actions of the hero Beowulf, the novel tells the story from Grendel’s perspective. Grendel is a monster that terrorizes a mead hall, slaying its inhabitants and creating panic among men with his presence. One night, during one of his raids, a man stands amongst the rest and tries to fight the monster, calling himself Unferth the Hero. Grendel, unmoved by the courageous action, proceeds to mock Unferth and his heroism, and humiliates him in the mead hall by defeating him with apples. Grendel goes back to his cave, convinced that he had defeated Unferth once and for all. But Unferth is not like other men, he is decided to defeat Grendel and become the hero. His purpose in life is to transcend existence and become immortal by saving the people from the monster, earning himself a place in the songs of The Shaper and having his tale be told for the rest of time. He follows Grendel to his cave, with the only goal to kill him or die trying. Unferth is confident, as defeat would still make him a hero for the people.…show more content…
He rants about his heroism, about how songs will be sung about his deeds and his bravery to dive into the monster’s lair, even if he dies. He tries to prove Grendel wrong, to show him that being a hero is more than being a fairy tale character, it is about the values and the morals, to give up life for others. However, Grendel remains indifferent to the concept of heroism, until Unferth eventually gives up. To finish shaming Unferth, the monster carries him back to the mead hall instead of killing him. Not stopping there, Grendel makes his offense even bigger by seemingly killing everyone but Unferth, driving him to madness and making him wish for
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