Beowulf

Roast Unferth 12th Grade

The definition of a modern-day hero is seen as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities” (Merriam-Webster). This definition is very similar to the way the Anglo-Saxons defined what a hero is. Beowulf, written by an unknown author and translated by Charles W. Kennedy, exhibits the protagonist, Beowulf, in a Anglo-Saxon heroic limelight. Beowulf clearly fits the multiple characteristics that an epic hero would have. These characteristics are his willingness to help regardless of the risk that is presented within these battles, “his inhuman strength” (White), loyalty, and honor. Specifically between lines 438 to 476, a friend of Beowulf, Unferth, is skeptic of Beowulf’s heroic capabilities. In response to this Beowulf gives a speech of his achievements, criticizing Unferth for not assisting the king with the destruction Grendel ensues. Beowulf is seen as a competent hero capable of defeating Grendel, bringing peace to the land once again. Although Beowulf is seen to have the advantage in the argument with Unferth, questions are to be raised about the absurd boldness of his acts and root cause of his speculated generosity. This is a recurring theme throughout Beowulf,...

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