Cast of Characters

Beowulf – Beowulf is the protagonist and titular character in the poem Beowulf. Beowulf is an accomplished warrior from Geatland who travels to Denmark to help the Danish king, Hrothgar, when his land is threatened by the monster, Grendel. Beowulf not only kills Grendel, but also kills Grendel’s mother. He returns to Geatland, where he eventually becomes king and reigns for 50 years of peace and prosperity. However, Geatland begins to face a threat from a dragon, and even though Beowulf is an old man, he goes to defeat the Dragon. While he manages to vanquish the Dragon, he receives a fatal wound during that battle.

King Hrothgar – King Hrothgar is the Danish king at the beginning of the novel. He has been a successful king and has built a mead hall, Heorot, where his warriors gather to celebrate each evening. Their revelry wakens a monster, Grendel, who comes each night and terrorizes them. Hrothgar’s men try to vanquish Grendel, but cannot. When Beowulf, who owes Hrothgar a favor because Hrothgar once helped Beowulf’s father, comes to Denmark and offers to help fight Grendel, Hrothgar accepts the offer. Hrothgar ends up playing a fatherly role to Beowulf, and helps shape the king that Beowulf will become.

Grendel – Grendel is the monster threatening Denmark. He is one of the antagonists of the poem. He is said to be descended from Cain. The sound of the revelry from Heorot disturbs him, so he goes to Heorot at night to terrorize the warriors there. Grendel manages to defeat most of the warriors he encounters, but Beowulf manages to cut off his arm, which proves to be a fatal wound.

Grendel’s mother – Grendel’s mother is another key antagonist in the poem. She is known simply as Grendel’s mother and is not given a name. She is referred to as a “swamp-hag,” and she clearly has more power than a regular woman, as she is able to defeat a warrior. She is characterized as less human than Grendel; however,...

Sign up to continue reading Cast of Characters >

Essays About Beowulf