Beowulf

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Wiglaf Character Analysis

The son of Weohstan the Scylfing, and a relative of Beowulf, as well as his most loyal warrior. In the battle against the dragon, he proves to be the only Geatish warrior with courage even moderately equivalent to Beowulf's. In a way, his valor only serves to underscore just how weak in general and dependent on Beowulf the other Geats have become. Wiglaf rules the Geats after Beowulf dies from wounds suffered in the battle against the dragon, but the narrator makes it clear that Wiglaf cannot match Beowulf as a king and that the Geats will face hard times.
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Wiglaf Character Timeline in Beowulf

The timeline below shows where the character Wiglaf appears in Beowulf. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Facing the Dragon (Lines 2324–2710)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon
Instead of helping him, ten of Beowulf's warriors flee. Only Wiglaf of the Waegmundings has courage enough to help Beowulf. He berates his comrades for deserting... (full context)
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Repetition and Change Theme Icon
The dragon charges Beowulf and Wiglaf. Their shields are burned and their armor offers them little protection. Beowulf strikes the dragon's... (full context)
Beowulf and Wiglaf (Lines 2711–2845)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Beowulf sits near the wall of the cave as Wiglaf washes his wound. Beowulf tells Wiglaf that he knows he is dying and that he... (full context)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Beowulf asks Wiglaf to bring him the treasure so that he can die knowing that he won it.... (full context)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon
Wiglaf gathers some of the treasure and returns to Beowulf, who thanks God that he could... (full context)
Wiglaf Speaks (Lines 2846–3109)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon
As the ten Geatish warriors who ran away return, a grief-stricken Wiglaf attempts in vain to revive Beowulf. Wiglaf reprimands the warriors, calling them disloyal oath-breakers and... (full context)
Family and Tribe Theme Icon
Good Warriors and Good Kings Theme Icon
Fame, Pride, and Shame Theme Icon
Wiglaf sends a messenger to tell the Geats of Beowulf's death. The messenger proclaims Beowulf's death... (full context)