Grendel Literary Analysis

Essay by BryanCantyHigh School, 10th gradeA+, July 2009

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 10 times

In the novel Grendel by John Gardner, the author uses minor characters that each represents and symbolizes different things. These characters include Unferth, Wealtheow, the Dragon, Hrothgar and Ork. These characters have roles that shape and contribute to the rest of the story. All of these characters have parts that in some way are important to telling Grendel's story even though they do not have a major role.

Unferth is one of Hrothgar's thanes and is seen throughout the novel confronting Grendel and putting down Beowulf. He is depicted as being self-absorbed and tries to make himself noticed by attempting to become a hero. An example of this is when he tries to fight Grendel in the mead hall, "Tell them in Hell that Unferth, son of Ecglaf sent you. Known far and wide in these Scanian lands as a hero among the Scyldings" (82). This quote shows that he is very self-absorbed and believes that he can do what ever he wants without considering the consequences.

Another role of Unferth is to make Beowulf seem more glorious and brilliant to the reader. Unferth confronts Beowulf about a swimming match and tries to make Beowulf less admired by recalling that he had lost,Say friend, are you the same man that went swimming that time with young Breca-risked your lives in the middle of the winter for nothing-for a crazy meadboast? We heard about that, Nobody could stop you-kings, priests, councilors-nobody. Splash! Uh, uh, uh! The sea boiled with waves fierce winter swells. Seven nights you swam, so people say. And at last Breca beat you, much stronger than you were. He proved his boast against you - for what it may be worth. (160)In this quote Unferth tries to make Beowulf seem weak and powerless. Beowulf tells...