Beowulf – Characters Analysis

Beowulf – Characters Analysis

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