UNFERTH is one of Hrothgar's best warriors, who is described as a brother-slayer and coward. Beowulf accuses him of not fighting with Grendel. He says: "... Grendel... would never have performed so many terrible deeds... if your spirit, your heart were so fierce in fight as you claim" (Norton, 34).

Unferth gives Beowulf his sword, Hrunting, before Beowulf's fight with Grendel's mother. It is a shameful act in the Anglo-Saxon warrior society. It is Unferth's duty to protect his kinsmen, but he is not courageous enough to do it.