Foils: Beowulf and Unferth by Iman Omer on Prezi
Unferth is a thane in Hrothgar (a nobleman of sorts). He has some contempt for Beowulf and engages him in a boasting match, which he loses. Jul 2, On the outside, characters who challenge Beowulf, like Unferth, seem .. There is a distinct relationship between Beowulf and Unferth that. Aug 26, In the foil between Beowulf and Unferth, Beowulf showed that he is a Godly figure , strong and skilled fighter, brave, in comparison to Unferth.
Almost immediately upon reading Beowulf for class, Kate wanted to write a fan fiction story based on the poem. Her decision was prompted in part by her enjoyment of the poem. In addition to examining the interactions between Beowulf and Unferth in the Seamus Heaney translation required for the class, Kate also browsed some other editions and a few published articles that focused on these two characters.
Ultimately, Kate decided that her fan fiction story, which would be written in three chapters of prose rather than as a poem, would extend and elaborate the three brief interactions between Beowulf and Unferth offered in the original poem. Fairly early in the process of thinking about Beowulf and Unferth, Kate grew curious about their physical appearance.
This was driven in part because she knew that she would need to describe their physical features in the fan fiction story.
Eventually, she made some of her own colored pencil drawings of Beowulf and Unferth, including a quick colored pencil sketch she drew during one of the class meetings, just to give herself a better sense of what these two characters might look like. Figure 5 Kate's Drawing of Beowulf and Unferth Click to Enlarge In her drawing, the blue-eyed character of Beowulf is represented at left with the beard and his hair gathered in a prominent ponytail.
Unferth, at right, features green eyes and is represented without a beard and with two prominent curls framing his face. A smaller and less-detailed image of Grendel hovers at the top right-hand corner of the page. In addition to the characters' names written in Old English letters, the page is also populated with notes Kate jotted to herself to capture her impressions of the finished images.
These quick notes, Kate indicated, served as brief reminders to herself regarding key differences between the image of the characters she had in her mind and how her drawings had turned out. As Kate stated while talking about this sketch during an interview, I was trying to get an idea of what they would look like to me, based on various artist interpretations.
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Breca not at all far from me could float on the ocean-flow, being the swifter on the swell, I would not stray from him. Wild were the waves, enraging the hearts of the sea-fish. Then against the loathed creatures my corselet, hard, hand-woven, was of great help, the broad coat of mail that on my breast lay gold adorned.
Yet, in spite of that coat the hostile enemy pulled me to the bottom, held fast in its grim grip. I was yet given this mercy: I could reach the fiend with sword-point, my battle blade. In the war rush I seized the life of the stalwart sea-deer with my own hand. They did not have much joy in that, the evildoers, they that would have me served up at a feast like this, they came to permanent seats in the sea-bed. The sea abated so that I the sea-cliff could see, set my eyes upon the windy shore.
Wyrd oft saves the unmarked man, when his strength thrives.
However they confined me, I, with the sword, slew nine sea-beasts. Yet I continued to survive the hostile distance, weary of the journey. It was then that the sea bore me up, the waters brought me to Finland, borne on the sea of a foreign land.
I from no man have heard tell of you set in such strife, darkened sword terror. Neither you nor Breca have tales of such battle-play, neither of you two have done sincerely such deeds with the stained sword — nor do I mean to boast in this — though you brought death to your own brother, near blood relation; thus in hell shall you suffer damnation, pain your tongue cannot untie.
The character of Unferth in Beowulf from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
I tell to you the truth, son of Ecglaf: Grendel never could such a horror perpetuate, that dire demon, over your people, the humiliation of Heorot, were thy courage, your heart, so fierce as you yourself says it is.
He has discovered that he need not greatly fear the vendetta, the terrible thronging swords of your people, slashings from the Victory-Scyldings.
Another thought comes from Carroll Rich, who notes that the biblical tale of Cain and Abel is deeply woven into the poem, and as Unferth is a character who is notorious for slaying his own brother, a parallel might exist. Eliason suggests that the mention of Unferth's fratricide, although apparently reiterated in lineis not to be taken seriously but is a mere bit of billingsgate.
The Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and Beowulf. Unferth performs these functions, thus fulfilling the role of social taunter. He is able to do so mainly because of his characteristic fast tongue, unabashed speech and wit. The taunter, as opposed to a satirist, is able to make personal attacks on specific characters.
Unferth does this as he questions the events that took place during the swimming contest. Portrayed as a boastful but weak-willed warrior, Unferth is mocked by Grendel for false piety, hypocrisy, and failing to live up to the ideals of the heroic culture that Unferth claims to embrace. Late in the novel, Unferth is mocked publicly by Beowulf. In Gardner's adaptation of lines of the epic, Beowulf responds to Unferth's verbal attacks by reminding all present that no one sings of Unferth's courage, and that Unferth is best known in the northern lands for having murdered his brothers.
Beowulf concludes by telling Unferth and assembled guests that Unferth "will prowl the stalagmites of hell" for his crime.
Tension however arises from the two when Unferth falls in love with Wealhtheow and Hrothgar shows no sign of intending to keep his promise. Unferth begins to plot against the king with the court minstrel, but is murdered on Hrothgar's orders by Beowulf. Unferth's role is expanded on in the animated film where he is played by John Malkovich.
In this film he is shown to be the king's advisor and openly hostile but also learned in the ways of Christianity he suggests to Hrothgar that they should also pray to "the new Roman God, Christ Jesus" after Grendel attacks Heorot at the beginning of the film.
Deviating from the poem, Unferth's sword melts when Beowulf is seduced by Grendel's mother, forcing Beowulf to concoct a lie about having to leave his sword buried in Grendel's mother's corpse or else she would come back from the dead.
Unferth also remains in the story until the final act.