October 8, 2009
Grendel and Beowulf Paper
Unferth is presented as a very different character in the novel Grendel and the play Beowulf. Unferth is seen as a jealous warrior in Beowulf, where as in the novel Unferth is respected more because of his beliefs in heroic ideals according to his culture. In the novel Grendel, Unferth believes in the heroic ideals of his warrior culture. He tries to fight Grendel in the battle because he is trying to be the hero that everyone praises. Grendel denies Unferths’ opportunity to show those ideals. When Grendel denies this, Unferth becomes a broken man. The author, John Gardner makes him a more respected character because he does not envy other characters that are superior to him. Even though Unferth cannot defeat Grendel, he is still respected because he tries to protect the Danes. Unferth says “Except in the life of a hero, the whole world is meaningless. The hero sees values beyond what's possible. That's the nature of a hero. It kills him, of course, ultimately. But it makes the whole struggle of humanity worthwhile.” (89).This shows Unferth’s motivation in becoming a hero. Grendel believed that there was no point to life, that humans did not have a reason for existence. Unferth contradicts Grendel’s way of thinking because he believes that men are capable of making a change in the human society. In Beowulf, Unferth is seen as a more jealous character. He proves to the Danes that he is inferior to Beowulf because of his inability to defeat the monster. He is seen as a character that is constantly complaining. Because of Unferth’s complaining, the readers in Beowulf do not respect him and have no faith in his ability to defeat Grendel.