the right hand man of Hrothgar killed by Grendel's mother; led to Beowulf''s quest for their lair
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.
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.
geat, brother of wulf, married to hygelac's unnamed daughter, killed ongentheow to avenge his brother's death
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.
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.
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.
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.
king of the Geats; killed by Swedish king, Son of King Hrethel, brother of Hygelac and Herebeald, accidentally kills Herebeald
Killed by Onela, Son of Hygd. King of the Danes for a while, mother, Hygd, wanted Beowulf King over him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hygelac's wife, the young, beautiful, and intelligent Queen of the Geats. Hygd is contrasted with Queen Modthryth.
This King of the Geats is also Beowulf's uncle. Upon hearing Beowulf's courageous exploits, he gives Beowulf nearly half his kingdom.
He is an ancient Germanic hero whose story is recounted after the fight with Grendel. He was known as the famous dragon slayer.
A Danish warrior who is jealous of Beowulf, Unferth is unable or unwilling to fight Grendel, thus proving himself inferior to Beowulf.
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.