Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. A story like Beowulf has many characters to keep track of and a character log can help keep them straight.

Clicking "Use This Assignment" will copy both the example above as well as a blank template for you to customize as desired. You may want students to start from scratch, or provide them with the questions and characters! Additionally, feel free to add your own questions for students to keep track of.

Important Characters and Creatures

  • Beowulf - Brave warrior and future king of Geatland
  • King Hrothgar - King of the Dane's who is threatened by the monster Grendel
  • Grendel - A abominable monster who threatens the Danes
  • Grendel’s mother - A swamp hag
  • Beow - Former King of the Geats
  • Unferth - Antagonist who challenges Beowulf on his word
  • Wiglaf - A young warrior who follows Beowulf to his death

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in Beowulf and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character from the "Medieval" or "Monsters and Myths" tabs to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the text boxes for Traits, Role in Epic, and Effect on Protagonist.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

How To Discuss Character Dynamics in Beowulf


List Down Characters

Ask the students to make a list of all the key characters or the characters they are interested in understanding. Some of the main characters in Beowulf include Beowulf himself, Grendel the monster, King Hrothgar, Grendel's mother, Unferth and Wiglaf.


Explore Relationships

They can also analyze which characters have the most interactions and which characters have the least interactions. They can list down the key points such as how these relationships and interactions influence behaviors and actions.


Analyze Character Traits

Understand the unique character traits that each character possesses and hold a discussion on why it was important for this character to possess such traits. Students can try to make their personalities more descriptive by modernizing the characters according to the real world.


Organize Role-Playing Activities

Teachers can organize a role-play activity and students can pick their favorite characters that they want to play. The poem can be converted into a play and some scenes can be recreated in order to get a better understanding of the characters.


Reflect on Activities

After playing different characters, students can write a short essay explaining their own perspective of the characters and the character dynamics they understood after participating in all the activities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beowulf Character Map

What exactly is a character map and how can it help in understanding the poem more effectively?

A character map is a visual portrayal of the characters' relationships, qualities, and interactions in the epic poem "Beowulf." It aids in understanding the relationships and dynamics between diverse characters. A character makes it simpler to see how the characters interact, affect the story, and represent different themes. Teachers can use this activity to explain difficult and abstract concepts in an efficient and interesting manner.

What are some "Beowulf" character relationships to pay attention to?

Beowulf's encounters with King Hrothgar, his conflicts with Grendel and Grendel's mother, and his partnership with Wiglaf are important relationships that students should pay attention to as they change the whole dynamic of the story. You can also look into the conflicts between characters like Unferth and Beowulf and the devotion of warriors to their monarchs.

How can I efficiently use colour and symbols in the character map?

To visually identify characters or groups of characters, give them various colours or symbols. You may, for instance, choose one colour for heroic people and another for adversarial ones. Character-related traits, allegiances, or themes can be represented through symbols.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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