Essay Archive - Beowulf: Unferth, the Same Martyr
Beowulf: Unferth, the Same Martyr
John Gardner introduces the reader of Grendel to an intimate side of
Unferth unseen in the epic poem Beowulf. In Grendel we behold what a pathetic,
sniveling wimp Unferth has become. In Beowulf all that we see is a jealous
bastard. Why did Gardner make the character of Unferth so different from the
original depiction? He didn't. The only change in Unferth from Beowulf to
Grendel is his realistic characterization in Grendel.
After the drunken Danes give Beowulf his warm welcome, Unferth unleashes
his anger in an attack on Beowulf. This pe....