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.