Wealtheow is Hrothgar’s queen, given to him in marriage as a gesture of peace by a rival king. Wealtheow’s presence at Hart exerts a calming power, easing tensions and resolving disputes between men. Her beauty and grace fascinate Grendel and torment him just as the beauty of the Shaper’s songs first did. Grendel spends much time spying on her and sees that she is often homesick and sad, but in the presence of Hrothgar she maintains a positive, graceful appearance. Grendel’s interest in Wealtheow causes him to stop raiding Hart temporarily, until he finally breaks into her bedroom and picks her up. Grendel plans to kill Wealtheow but ultimately lets her live. She is the only human character for whom Grendel perhaps feels pity and is merciful. Unlike with Unferth, he does not appear to let her live for any devious purpose.
Wealtheow Character Timeline in Grendel
The timeline below shows where the character Wealtheow appears in Grendel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Grendel’s stream of consciousness continues to alternate with third-person narration, he thinks of Hrothgar’s queen, Wealtheow, and tries to define her geometrically and physically as a cross-section of time-space. (full context)
Grendel remembers how Wealtheow first appeared, during the second year of his raids. Hrothgar had gathered all of his... (full context)
...winter, Grendel refrained from raiding Hart. He spent much time in his cave, thinking of Wealtheow and observing his mindless mother. At times Grendel would go to the meadhall and watch... (full context)
Grendel spent much time pondering the power of Wealtheow’s beauty. He often saw her cry at night, missing her old home. Once that winter,... (full context)
...night, Grendel raided the meadhall, killing men on his way to the queen’s bedroom. Finding Wealtheow, he picked up her up and examined her, pulling her legs apart. He resolved to... (full context)
...since it doesn’t allow other plants to grow where it is, and then thinks of Wealtheow and her kind love. (full context)
In the next scene, Wealtheow is beside Hrothulf’s bed and asks him why he is so sad at his young... (full context)
The Shaper is sick. Grendel watches as Hrothgar, Wealtheow, and Hrothulf go to visit the Shaper’s sickbed. Grendel laughs, asking “Where are all his... (full context)
...Unferth’s killing his brother, saying he’ll go to Hell for the deed. Hrothgar calls for Wealtheow, who enters and eases the tension in the hall. (full context)