Beowulf Character List and Analysis

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Beowulf Character List

(with alternate spellings)

  • Beowulf - the epic hero; the ideal warrior. He is originally a thane, but later becomes a feudal lord and king of the Geats.
  • Grendel - the huge monster who terrorizes Herot, the mead hall of King Hrothgar. He cannot be destroyed by the weapons of men, but Beowulf kills him with his bare hands.
  • Grendel’s mother (also known as the troll wife and Grendel’s dam) - She wants to avenge her son’s death, so she attacks the mead hall.
  • Dragon - A fire-breathing, snake-like monster who ultimately kills Beowulf, but not before it meets its own death.
  • Hrothgar - king of the Danes; He is a wise and generous ruler, but is too old to protect his people from the attack of Grendel.
  • Unferth - a thane in Hrothgar’s court who challenges Beowulf’s superiority as a warrior. He is later forced to recognize Beowulf’s greatness.
  • Wealtheow - Hrothgar’s wife; Her generosity and hospitality make her an ideal queen.
  • Higlac or Hygelac - Beowulf’s uncle and king of the Geats. He is actually a historical figure. The real person died in battle while raiding the European mainland in 521.
  • Healfdanes - Hrothgar’s father.
  • Wiglaf - A young and experienced thane who is the only one to stand by Beowulf in the battle with the dragon. Beowulf chooses him as his successor.
  • Edgetho or Ecgtheow - Beowulf’s father; He was once befriended and offered shelter by Hrothgar.
  • Hrunting - The sword loaned to Beowulf by the repentant Unferth.
  • Wulfgar - The Danish watchman who first sees Beowulf’s ship land on Danish soil.
  • Aeschere - Hrothgar’s close friend and chief advisor who is killed by Grendel’s mother when she comes to retrieve Grendel’s arm.

Hamlet Character List

  • CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark
  • HAMLET, Son to the late, and Nephew to the present King
  • GERTRUDE, Queen of Denmark and Mother to Hamlet
  • POLONIUS, Lord Chamberlain
  • LAERTES, his Son
  • OPHELIA, Daughter to Polonius
  • HORATIO, Friend to Hamlet
  • FORTINBRAS, Prince of Norway
  • FRANCISCO, a Soldier
  • REYNALDO, Servant to Polonius

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