Study Guide

Grendel Characters

By John Gardner

Grendel

So, Grendel. On the one hand, he's about the most sensitive character we get in this novel, and...

Hrothgar

Grendel totally has mixed feelings about human beings. He'd like to think they're complete,...

Mama Grendel

Grendel's mother doesn't have all that much going for her. She's not good looking, she's not a...

Unferth

Unlike many of the characters in Gardner's novel, Unferth comes to us from the Old English poem...

The Shaper

For an old blind guy who sits around the meadhall playing on a harp all night, the Shaper sure...

The Dragon

Gardner's dragon benefits from at least a thousand years of mythological development, so if...

The Stranger (a.k.a. Beowulf)

This dude needs no introduction.Actually, he doesn't really get one. We already know who he is...

Wealtheow

Of all the characters in the novel, Wealtheow is the only one who doesn't leave us feeling like...

Hrothulf

The orphaned son of Hrothgar's sister presents a major problem in the meadhall—and everyone...

Freawaru

The women in Grendel live fairly predictable lives: they grow to be lovely women (must be those...

Hygmod

In Old English, the name "Hygmod" might mean something like "mindful spirit"—not a bad...

Red Horse

Hrothulf's stinky revolutionary partner seems a bad match for the young lad in more ways than...

Ork

What is it about the old, blind dudes in this novel? They seem to turn the weakness of their eyes...