Characters and Objects in Beowulf

 

Æschere - Hroðgar's counselor, killed by Grendel's Mother.

Beowulf - the hero.

Breca - Beowulf’s childhood friend who competed with him in a swimming match.

Brondings - the people of Breca.

Eadgils - a Swedish king also mentioned extensively in the Norse sagas.

Eanmund - a Swedish prince, and the brother of Eadgils.

Ecgþeow - Beowulf's father who belonged to the Swedish Wægmunding clan. He joined the Geats after having been banished for killing Heaðolaf, and married a Geatish princess.

Eofor - the boar. A Geatish warrior who avenged the death of Hæþcyn by slaying Ongenþeow during the Swedish-Geatish wars. He was recompensed with the daughter of king Hygelac.

Freawaru - the daughter of King Hroðgar and Queen Wealhþeow and wife of Ingeld, King of the Heaðobards.

Grendel - one of three antagonists (along with Grendel's Mother and the dragon).

Grendel's mother - one of three antagonists (along with Grendel and the dragon).

Healfdene - Hroðgar's father and predecessor.

Halga - Hroðgar's brother. He is hardly mentioned in Beowulf but he is a very prominent character in Norse tradition.

Hæþcyn - the son of the Geatish king Hreðel.

Heaðolaf - Wulfing killed by Beowulf's father Ecgþeow.

Herebeald - the son of the Geatish king Hreðel.

Heardred - the son of Hygelac, king of the Geats, and his queen Hygd.

Heorogar - Hroðgar's brother and predecessor.

Heorot - the great hall built by king Hroðgar.

Heoroweard - Heorogar's son; Hroðgar's nephew.

Hildeburh - the daughter of the Danish King Hoc (Beowulf) and the wife of the Finn, King of the Jutes.

Hreðel - king of the Geats.

Hreðric and Hroðmund, the two sons of Hroðgar.

Hroðgar - king of Danes; married to Wealhþeow. Also prominent in Norse tradition.

Hroðulf (also known as Hrólfr Kraki) - , Hroðgar's nephew, but more prominent in Norse tradition.

Hrunting - the magical sword given to Beowulf by Unferð

Hygd - queen of the Geats; the wife of king Hygelac.

Hygelac - king of the Geats; the husband of Hygd.

Ingeld - a Heathobard lord; married to the Dane, Freawaru, daughter of Hroðgar.

Modþryð - queen who punishes those who look her directly in the eye; later marries Offa of Angel .

Naegling - the magical sword used by Beowulf to slay the dragon, but his might was too strong and the blade broke in combat. Name probably translates as "Nail" or "Kinsman of the Nail."

Ohthere - king of the Swedish house of Scylfings, and also mentioned in Norse tradition. The father of Eadgils and Eanmund, and the brother of Onela.

Onela - king of the Swedish house of Scylfings, and also mentioned in Norse tradition. The brother of Ohthere.

Ongenþeow - king of Sweden. Slew the Geatish king Hæþcyn, but was himself killed by Eofor, during the Swedish-Geatish wars.

Scyld - (Scyld Scēfing) warrior king who founded the ruling house in Denmark.

Scylding - the ruling clan in Denmark, by metonymy also used to refer to the Danish nation as a whole.

Scylfing - the ruling clan in Sweden, by metonymy also used to refer to the Swedish nation as a whole.

Unferð - a thane of the Danish lord Hroðgar.

Wægmundings - a Swedish clan to which belonged Beowulf, Ecgþeow and Wiglaf. Wiglaf is called "the last of the Wægmundings".

Wealhþeow - queen of the Danes; married to Hroðgar.

Wiglaf - Beowulf's relative. A Swedish warrior of the Waegmunding clan who helps Beowulf slay the dragon.

Wulfgar - The herald of Hrothgar, renowned for his great wisdom.

Wulfing - the clan of Heaðolaf and possibly Wealhþeow.

Yrse - A questionable personage borrowed from Norse tradition appearing in some translations (e.g. Burton Raffel) and commentaries, as an emendation of a corrupt line (62) where Hroðgar's sister is mentioned. His sister is, however, named Signy in Norse tradition (Skjöldunga saga and Hrólfr Kraki's saga), whereas Yrsa was Halga's daughter and lover with whom he had Hroðulf.