Beowulf

Literature
Summary

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

3) Why does Unferth question Beowulf’s ability?

Unferth is “sick with envy” (l.502) of Beowulf’s reputation and courage. From a dramatic point of view, Unferth’s challenge gives Beowulf a chance to demonstrate his skill at boasting. Boasting was considered a legitimate way for a warrior to enhance his reputation, and as Beowulf tells the story of his swimming race we learn that the hero is as good at boasting as he is at fighting.