Beowulf Characters

Shield Sheafson Dane; good warrior king who established the ruling house in Denmark, father of Beow
Halfdane Dane; father of Hrothgar
Heorogar Dane; Hrothgar’s older brother
Hrothgar Dane; great Danish king who is afflicted by Grendel
Halga Dane; Hrothgar’s younger brother
Onela Swede; Swedish king
Heorot Danish; the great mead-hall of King Hrothgar that is struck by Grendel; means “Hall of the Hart” and represents the heart of the Danish community
Grendel (Dane?); brutal monster that terrorizes Heorot and the Danish community; may represent fear itself or fear of the unknown; may also be an outcast Dane
Hygelac Geat; king of the Geats
Ecgtheow Beowulf’s father
Wulfgar Dane; Hrothgar’s herald
Hrethel Geat; father of Beowulf’s mother, Geatish king
Unferth Dane; Hrothgar’s nephew and thane; tries to verbally attack Beowulf in the mead-hall; later lends Hrunting to Beowulf
Breca Geat; Beowulf’s friend who raced through the sea with Beowulf
Wealhtheow Dane; Hrothgar’s wife; Queen of the Geats; successful peace-weaver
Sigemund (Geat?), great warrior who killed a dragon in Sigemund’s Lay
Fitela (Geat?); Sigemund’s nephew who helped Sigemund in battle
Heremod Dane; old and betrayed Danish king who abused his power
Hrothulf Dane; Hrothgar’s nephew who is foreshadowed to later start a blood feud within the family which leads to the burning of Hall Heorot
Finn Frisian; Frisian king
Hnaef Dane; brother of Hildeburh; killed by Finn
Hildeburh Frisian/Dane; daughter of Danish king but wife of Finn; her brother, son, and husband were all killed and she was not successful as a peace-weaver
Hengest Dane; attacked the Frisians to avenge Hnaef*
Hrethic and Hrothmund Danes; Hrothgar’s and Wealhtheow’s two sons
Grendel’s Mother Dane; minatory mother of Grendel who attacks Hall Heorot to gain revenge after her son’s death; represents revenge
Aeschere Dane; one of Hrothgar’s best friends, advisors, and warriors who was slaughtered by Grendel’s Mother
Hrunting (Dane?); the great sword that Unferth gave to Beowulf to help Beowulf kill Grendel’s Mother; however, the sword did not work
Hygd Geat; Geatish Queen and wife of Hygelac
Modthryth (Geat?); a cruel queen who tortured her people but later transformed after marrying King Offa
Offa (Geat?); brave and heroic king
Freawaru Dane; Hrothgar’s daughter
Ingeld Heathobard?; Freawaru’s husband
Handscio Geat; one of Beowulf’s warriors who was killed by Grendel
Heardred Geat; son of Hygelac and king after Hygelac’s death
The Dragon (Geatish); a fearsome beast who greedily guards the treasure hoard that was abandoned by an ancient and forgotten race
Ongentheow Swede; Swedish king; father of Ohthere; killed Haethcyn; killed by Eofor
Herebeald Geat; son of Hrethel, but killed by brother Haethcyn accidentally
Haethcyn Geat; son of Hrethel who accidentally killed Herebeald
Eofor Geat; husband of Hygelac’s daughter; brother of Wulf; killed Ongentheow
Wiglaf Geat; son of Weohstan who is the only one who does not abandon Beowulf against the dragon
Naegling (Geat?); Beowulf’s sword that fails against the dragon
Wulf Geat; brother of Eofor, fought Ongentheow

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