Aeschere: Aeschere is a close adviser of King Hrothgar. He is killed by Grendel’s mother.
Beow: Beow was the son of the Danish king Shield Sheafson, and the grandfather of Hrothgar.
Beowulf: Beowulf is the hero of the epic. He is a renowned Geat warrior who travels to the Danish king Hrothgar to aid him in his fight against Grendel. Showing great courage, strength and daring, Beowulf vanquishes Grendel and Grendel’s mother. He also behaves in an exemplary fashion, pledging his friendship to Hrothgar, who rewards him with lavish gifts, and then honoring his own king, Hygelac. Beowulf become king of the Geats and reigns for fifty years. He continues to behave in a way that all admire. As well as being courageous, he is generous, tactful, kind, prudent, resolute, and even-tempered. Even as an old man, he does not shirk his duty when it comes to fighting the dragon. He meets his death with dignity, dying as he had lived, with courage and honor.
Breca: Breca was a young companion of Beowulf who took part in a marathon swimming contest with him.
Ecgtheow: Ecgtheow was Beowulf’s father. He was a world-renowned warrior.
Eofor: Eofor, the brother of Wulf, is the Geat warrior who kills the Swedish king, Ongentheow. This act wins him great glory.
Finn: Finn was a Frisian king who married Hildeburh, a Danish princess. The minstrel at Hrothgar’s court sings of Finn’s war with the Danes, who eventually kill him in his own hall.
Freawaru: Freawaru is Hrothgar’s daughter who is offered in marriage to Ingeld, lord of the Heathobards, to settle a feud.
Grendel: Grendel is a half-human, man-eating monster, described as a “fiend out of hell,” who for twelve years attacks the Danes at night in their hall. He is killed by Beowulf.
Grendel’s mother: Grendel’s mother, a monster in the vague shape of a woman, seeks revenge for the killing of her son. They are both descendents of Cain. Grendel’s mother kills Aeschere in the mead-hall before she is vanquished by Beowulf in her dwelling place at the bottom of a haunted lake.
Haethcyn: Haethcyn is the son of Hrethel, who accidentally kills his brother Herebeald. He dies in battle against the Swedes.
Halfdane: Halfdane is the son of Beow, and father of Hrothgar.
Halga : Halga is the son of Heorogar and the brother of Hrothgar.
Herebeald: Herebeald is the son of Hrethel. When still a young boy, he is killed by his brother Haethcyn, in an accident with an arrow.
Heardred:Heardred is the son of Hygelac. He rules the Geats after Hygelac’s death, but is killed in battle against the Swedes.
Heremod: Heremod was a powerful Danish king and warrior, but he eventually brought destruction on his people because of his bad character. He is contrasted with the goodness of Beowulf.
Heorogar: Heorogar was the son of Halfdane, and the older brother of Hrothgar.
Hildeburh: Hildeburh was a Danish princess, given in marriage to Finn. Her son and brother were killed on the battlefield, and after Finn was killed, she was taken back to Denmark.
Hrethel: Hrethel was the father of King Hygelac. Beowulf spent much of his childhood as a ward at Hrethel’s court. Hrethel died of grief after his son, Herebeald, was accidentally killed.
Hrethric: Hrethric is the young son of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow.
Hrothulf: Hrothulf is Hrothgar’s nephew.
Hrothgar: Hrothgar is the aging Danish king. He built the great hall, Heorot, and is known far and wide as a great, wise and generous king. He befriended Beowulf’s father, and is deeply grateful to Beowulf for killing the monsters that have tormented his people. He bestows many gifts on Beowulf and treats him like a son. He weeps when Beowulf departs, knowing that he will never see him again.
Hrothmund: Hrothmund is one of the two young sons of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow.
Hygd: Hygd is King Hygelac’s queen. She is young but does her duties at the court well.
Hygelac: Hygelac is the Geat king, renowned for his wisdom. He is the son of Hrethel, and Beowulf’s uncle. He is killed in battle in Friesland.
Modthryrh: Modthryrh was a queen known for her headstrong, bad ways. She is contrasted to the good queen, Hygd. Modthryrh was tamed when she married Offa, a king of the Angles.
Offa: Offa was a king of the tribe known as the Angles, and was renowned for his generosity, fighting spirit, and defense of his homeland.
Onela: Onela is the Swedish king who takes part in the battle that kills the Geat king Heardred. He is the younger son of Ongentheow. He is killed by Eadgils, Heardred’s nephew, who is supported by Beowulf.
Ongentheow: Ongentheow is a Swedish king who makes war on the Geats after the death of the Geat king Hrethel. He kills Haethcyn in battle, but is then killed by Eofor.
Shield Sheafson: Shield Sheafson was a famed Danish king, the great-grandfather of Hrothgar.
Sigemund: Sigemund was a Nordic warrior, the son of Waels, who slew a dragon. The minstrel at Hrothgar’s court sings of his exploits.
Unferth: Unferth is a renowned warrior at Hrothgar’s court. He is envious of Beowulf’s reputation, and predicts that he will fall to Grendel. But according to Beowulf, Unferth is not much of a warrior himself. Unferth later forgets his jealousy and lends Beowulf his sword for the fight with Grendel’s mother. Unferth knows that he does not himself have the courage to face the monster.
Wealhtheow: Wealhtheow is Hrothgar’s queen. She is dignified and gracious.
Wiglaf: Wiglaf is the young warrior who, alone among the Geat warriors, goes to the aid of Beowulf in his battle against the dragon. It is his first taste of battle. He thrusts his sword into the dragon’s belly, and this enables Beowulf to inflict the fatal blow.
Wulf: Wulf is the Geat warrior who wounds Ongentheow. He is the brother of Eofor.
Wulfgar: Wulfgar is Hrothgar’s herald. He is also a renowned warrior and is known for his wisdom.