english beowulf characters

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Abel

killed by his brother Cain

Aeschere

the right hand man of Hrothgar killed by Grendel's mother; led to Beowulf''s quest for their lair

Beow

the son of Shield Sheafson and the father of Halfdane

beowulf

he is a geat and his father is Ecgtheow. hero of the story. went to help hrothgar

breca

Beowulf's childhood friend, whom he defeated in a swimming match. Unferth alludes to the story of their contest, and Beowulf then relates it in detail.

dazzle the duel

sword given to hengest and was used to kill finn

eanmund

killed by Onela, son of Ohthere, brother of Eadgils,

ecgtheow

He is Beowulf's father. He is a Waegmunding by birth and a Geat by marriage. When he was younger, Hrothgar helped him settle a feud with the Wylfingas.

eofor

geat, brother of wulf, married to hygelac's unnamed daughter, killed ongentheow to avenge his brother's death

finn

king of frisian killed by hengest

freawaru

She is the daughter of Hrothgar who is unmentioned until Beowulf tells about her. Beowulf believes that her marriage to a Heathobard prince will do more harm than good for the Danes.

grendel

A demon descended from Cain, Grendel preys on Hrothgar's warriors in the king's mead-hall, Heorot. Because his ruthless and miserable existence is part of the retribution exacted by God for Cain's murder of Abel, Grendel fits solidly within the ethos of vengeance that governs the world of the poem.

grendels mother

unnamed swamp hag, terrorizes Herot, killed by Beowulf, A demon even more monstrous than Grendel, seeks revenge on Hrothgar's men for the death of her son. Beowulf journeys to her magical, creature-filled lair beneath the swamp in order to defeat her.

halfdane

The father of Hrothgar, Heorogar, Halga, and an unnamed daughter who married a king of the Swedes, Halfdane succeeded Beow as ruler of the Danes.

handsio

went to herot with beowulf. ended up being the first one eaten by grendel

haethcyn

king of the Geats; killed by Swedish king, Son of King Hrethel, brother of Hygelac and Herebeald, accidentally kills Herebeald

heardred

Killed by Onela, Son of Hygd. King of the Danes for a while, mother, Hygd, wanted Beowulf King over him.

hengest

name of the dane responsible for killing Finn using the dazzle the duel sword

heorot

This is the hall that Hrothgar builds in celebration of his reign. It is the site both of many happy festivals and many sorrowful funerals.

herebeald

Geat prince; eldest son Hrethel; killed accidentally by Haethcyn

heremod

He was an ancient Danish king who went from being a good king to a ruthlessly evil king. Hrothgar uses him as an example of bad kingship for Beowulf.

hrethel

King of the Geats, father of Hygelac, takes in Beowulf

hrothgar

He is the King of the Danes at the time of Grendel's assaults. He builds the hall Heorot as a tribute to his people and his reign.

hrothulf

Hrothgar's nephew, Hrothulf betrays and usurps his cousin, Hrethic, the rightful heir to the Danish throne. Hrothulf's treachery contrasts with Beowulf's loyalty to Hygelac in helping his son to the throne.

hrunting

Unferth's sword, given to Beowulf, has no effect on Grendel's mother.

hygd

Hygelac's wife, the young, beautiful, and intelligent Queen of the Geats. Hygd is contrasted with Queen Modthryth.

hygelac

This King of the Geats is also Beowulf's uncle. Upon hearing Beowulf's courageous exploits, he gives Beowulf nearly half his kingdom.

ohthere

son of ongentheow, father of eadgils and eanmund,

onela

Halfdane's son in law, Swedish King who killed Heardred during a raid on Geatland.

ongentheow

king of Swedes; father of Onela & Ohthere; killed Geat king (Haethcyn); killed by Eofor

sheild sheafson

strong, good king, died and was put on a funeral boat

sigemund

He is an ancient Germanic hero whose story is recounted after the fight with Grendel. He was known as the famous dragon slayer.

unferth

A Danish warrior who is jealous of Beowulf, Unferth is unable or unwilling to fight Grendel, thus proving himself inferior to Beowulf.

wealtheow

Hrothgar's wife, the gracious Queen of the Danes

wiglaf

A young kinsman and retainer of Beowulf who helps him in the fight against the dragon while all of the other warriors run away. Wiglaf adheres to the heroic code better than Beowulf's other retainers, thereby proving himself a suitable successor to Beowulf.

wulfgar

He is one of Hrothgar's faithful thanes. As the watchman for the Danes, he is the first to greet Beowulf and his thanes to the land of the Danes. He also deems the Geat visitors as people worthy enough to meet with Hrothgar.

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