Beowulf

Beowulf Character List

(with alternate spellings)

 

  • Beowulf-the epic hero; the ideal warrior.He is originally a thane, but later becomes a feudal lord and king of the Geats.

  • Grendel-the huge monster who terrorizes Herot, the mead hall of King Hrothgar.He cannot be destroyed by the weapons of men, but Beowulf kills him with his bare hands.

  • Grendel’s mother (also known as the troll wife and Grendel’s dam)-She wants to avenge her son’s death, so she attacks the mead hall.

  • Dragon-A fire-breathing, snake-like monster who ultimately kills Beowulf, but not before it meets its own death.

  • Hrothgar-king of the Danes; He is a wise and generous ruler, but is too old to protect his people from the attack of Grendel.

  • Unferth-a thane in Hrothgar’s court who challenges Beowulf’s superiority as a warrior.He is later forced to recognize Beowulf’s greatness.

  • Wealtheow-Hrothgar’s wife; Her generosity and hospitality make her an ideal queen.

  • Higlac or Hygelac-Beowulf’s uncle and king of the Geats.He is actually a historical figure.The real person died in battle while raiding the European mainland in 521.

  • Healfdanes-Hrothgar’s father.

  • Wiglaf-A young and experienced thane who is the only one to stand by Beowulf in the battle with the dragon.Beowulf chooses him as his successor.

  • Edgetho or Ecgtheow-Beowulf’s father; He was once befriended and offered shelter by Hrothgar.

  • Hrunting-The sword loaned to Beowulf by the repentant Unferth.

  • Wulfgar-The Danish watchman who first sees Beowulf’s ship land on Danish soil.

  • Aeschere-Hrothgar’s close friend and chief advisor who is killed by Grendel’s mother when she comes to retrieve Grendel’s arm.

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