Asked by: Tarra Abakovsky
books and literature poetry

How does Beowulf respond to Unferth's challenge?

Last Updated: 7th April, 2021

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When Beowulf arrives at Heorot Hall, Unferth challenges him by telling the story of a swimming contest that Beowulf once lost to a man named Breka. However, Beowulf says that he only lost because he had to fight nine sea monsters after five days in icy water.

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People also ask, what is Unferth's motive for challenging Beowulf?

Terms in this set (44) What do you think is Unferth's motive for challenging Beowulf? He is jealous of Beowulf and his glory even though Unferth is drunk and frameless. He wants to humiliate Beowulf and put him back in his place.

Subsequently, question is, what challenges does Beowulf face? The representation of Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon is the adversity of life. All three of these “forces” challenge Beowulf and his courage. All three challenge is strength, his courage, and his loyalty throughout his life and the story.

One may also ask, what is Unferth's reaction to Beowulf?

Beowulf tells Unferth that it is his drunkenness making him brave and that Unbferth does not know the entire story of the swimming challenge with Brecca. Beowulf, that night, finds victory over Grendel (the monster who has murdered many of Hrothgar's men in the mead hall, Heorot.

Why did Beowulf decide to fight the monster with his hand?

In the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf, the protagonist Beowulf insists on battling Grendel with his bare hands, instead of using a weapon, because, he says, Grendel doesn't use one. Beowulf sees using a weapon against a beast that uses no weapon as dishonorable. He will fight Grendel on equal terms.

Related Question Answers

Eutilio Zanarelli

Professional

What is Unferth's challenge?

Beowulf is widely considered one of the greatest epic poems ever written. So, where Beowulf is brave and honorable, his foil, Unferth, is cowardly and dishonorable. When Beowulf arrives at Heorot Hall, Unferth challenges him by telling the story of a swimming contest that Beowulf once lost to a man named Breka.

Mamadu Sitha

Professional

What is Grendel's lair like?

In contrast to Heorot, Grendel's lair is miserable, loathsome, and dark. Grendel is said to dwell in the moor-fens. Fens are wetlands, created by decaying matter in wet terrain. So, a fen is definitely a dismal place to live, quite unlike Heorot Hall.

Muad Leeming

Professional

How does Unferth's challenge build suspense in the story?

How does Unferth's challenge build suspense? It build suspense by raising the question in the reader's mind about Beowulf's ability to defeat Grendel.

Vladimirs Ludewigsen

Explainer

What qualities does Welthow exhibit?

What qualities does Welthow exhibit throughout the poem? She is submissive in a strong way to the king, she is classy, gracious, and hospitable.

Georghe Fener

Explainer

How is unferth serve as a foil to Beowulf?

Unferth is presented as a lesser man, a foil for the near-perfect Beowulf. (A foil is a character whose traits contrast with and thereby accentuate those of another character.) Unlike Beowulf, Unferth is clearly afraid to fight the monster himself.

Reita Qualunque

Explainer

What is the purpose of Hrothgar's promise to Beowulf?

Hrothgar enters the mead-hall to see the trophy. He thanks God for finally granting him relief from Grendel. He then praises Beowulf, promises him lavish rewards, and says that he has adopted the warrior in his heart as a son.

Hassan Cacho

Pundit

Why does Hrothgar make this promise?

This promise that Beowulf makes is called a boast. Hrothgar thanks God that Beowulf has said this because his friend's murder must be avenged and the murderer stopped before she kills again. Hrothgar and his thanes gather and go with Beowulf to search for the woman's home.

Amsha Potel

Pundit

What request does Beowulf make of Hrothgar?

What one request does Beowulf make of Hrothgar? Beowulf asks Hrothgar to allow him and his men alone to drive Grendel from Herot.

Ashlee Labelle

Pundit

How does Beowulf refute Unferth's charge?

How does Beowulf refute Unferth's charge? The significance of Beowulf's meeting Grendel alone and unarmed show that how he felt he needed to do this himself how he was ready for a fair fight (line 453-460). No weapons, beowulf wants it to be fair. He would be the most proud if he won this way.

Pietro Oltersdorf

Pundit

What does unferth accuse Beowulf of?

Unferth accuses Beowulf, as a lad, of entering a dangerous, foolish seven-night swimming match on the open sea against a boy named Breca — and losing.

Mbaye Arbo

Pundit

What does unferth symbolize?

Unferth symbolizes the idea that one cannot only "talk the talk." Instead, all men must "walk the walk." The challenge by Unferth against Beowulf proves to be important given Unferth's change of heart later in the epic. Heorot symbolizes the power of God.

Eberhard Izpura

Teacher

What is Unferth's role in Beowulf?

Unferth is clever and generous, and he also lends Beowulf his famous sword, Hrunting, with which to fight Grendel's mother. Of course, the sword doesn't work on the demon, but Unferth didn't know that would happen.

Zhaneta Mayr

Supporter

What internal conflict does Beowulf face?

While not obvious, the internal conflict of the epic hero in Beowulf lies in the fact that Beowulf must defeat Grendel. Beowulf has traversed the seas to come to the Danelands in order to support his renown of being a great hero.

Estilita Schiehl

Supporter

What significance can you see that Grendel attacks at night?

It is significant that Grendel attacks at night because he is described as being evil and the darkness symbolizes that evil. Grendel is described as being the spawn of Cain (the Biblical character who was the first murderer).

Janessa Ansede

Supporter

Caiping Dussart

Beginner

How is Beowulf different from a modern hero?

Beowulf was a well known hero to the gates. He was to be known as the best, but times have changed. Most people today pay attention to the modern day heroes. Beowulf, a warrior and the main character of the epic, shows characteristics such as loyalty, generosity, and bravery which portray him as a hero.

Marybelle Lizaso

Beginner

What details describe Grendel's mother and her lair?

What details describe Grendel's mother and her lair? What might Grendel's mother represent for the Anglo-Saxons? Her lair is deep underwater in a building with a high arch and an ancient sword mounted on the wall. Grendel's mother is described as a "she-wolf" and "Hell-bride" and her claws are often mentioned.

Issah Pask

Beginner

What happens to the dragon's treasure?

The dragon's hoard is buried with Beowulf's ashes. After the dragon is killed, Beowulf tells Wiglaf to look for the dragon's treasure and to bring it to him. After Beowulf dies, his followers show up. Wiglaf excoriates them for their cowardice in leaving their king to fight the dragon by himself.