Beowulf. About Characters

Beowulf. About Characters

Beowulf
protagonist war-hero who is loved by his subjects and considered a great king. He has the strength of thirty men
King Hrothgar
The king of Danes, he has no problems ruling until Grendel causes problems for his kingdom. calls upon Beowulf to help him defeat Grendel. father figure to Beowulf
Heorot
Hrothgar’s mead hall
Grendel
a demon descended from Cain who wreaks havoc on Hrothgar’s kingdom.
The dragon
guards a hoard of treasure. Beowulf fights him in his 3rd and final fight that concludes the epic
Beow
the son of Shield Sheafson and the father of Halfdane
Halfdane
father of Hrothgar, succeeded Beow’s rule
Wealtheow
Hrothgar’s wife who is queen of Danes
Unferth
a Danish warrior who is jealous of Beowulf and is unwilling and unable to fight Grendel, inferior to Beowulf
Hygelac
Beowulf’s uncle, king of the Geats, husband of Hygd
Hygd
Hygelac’s wife who is good
Aeschere
Hrothgar’s trusted advisor
Wiglaf
one of Beowulf’s comrades who helps him fight the dragon when everyone else deserts him, strict follower of the heroic code
Ecgtheow
Beowulf’s father who is dead by the time the story begins
Breca
Beowulf’s childhood friend whom he defeated in swimming
Sigemund
his story about slaying a dragon is told foreshadowing Beowulf’s encounter with the dragon
Grendel’s mother
gets mad at Beowulf after he kills her son, decides to take revenge. Beowulf wins and returns with her head
Hrunting
the sword that Unferth gives to Beowulf to kill Grendel’s mother, ends up not working
Dayraven
a Frankish warrior that is crush by Beowulf’s bare hands
Shield Sheafson
one of the first great kings of Danes who is given a great burial at sea, great grandfather of Hrothgar
Naegling
Beowulf’s ancestral sword
caesura
a rythmic pause to create unity
wergyld
a fine, the amount paid by the wrongdoer to the family of the person he or she had injured or killed; translates as “money for a man”
hoard
a secret store of valuables or money
kinsmen
people of the same clan or family
mead
a fermented beverage made of water and honey, malt, and yeast
epic
a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero
kenning
a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing or event indirectly