Paraphrase lines 125-131 in Book 2 of Beowulf.

Quick answer:

The rest of the first paragraph of this passage indicates that Hrothgar's court has been suffering because of Grendel's hatred. The author uses this fact to set up Beowulf as a hero.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

For the length of twelve years, the ruler of the Scyldings endured this trouble. He had many sorrows and his cares were without limit. True news was openly revealed to men in their clans. They heard of Grendel's constant troubling of Hrothgar, of the great hatred that Grendel had for the sovereign, his killing and the destruction he wrought.

The author uses these few lines to bridge a large gap of time efficiently. He sets up the idea that Hrothgar and his people have been suffering for a long time because of Grendel's hatred, which gives the arrival of Beowulf and his victory a greater impact. A hero is more impressive if he is able to solve a problem that is large and enduring rather than one that just came up, so these lines help the author prepare his audience to experience Beowulf as a great hero.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Paraphrase of Beowulf Book II, Lines 125 - 131:

He endured the trouble for twelve years, did the sovran of Scyldings, with plentiful sorrow and ceaseless problems. The tribes of men then heard this news as it came to them in all it's truthfulness and was presented in songs of how Grendel unendingly harassed Hrothgar and of how Grendle hated him and wrought murder and massacre year after year.

One of the interesting things about this passage is that in Line 125, the usual English sentence order of Subject/Verb/Object is inverted. Line 125 is instead structured as Object/Verb/Subject. If written in the correct order of Subject/Verb/Object, Line 125 would read "He bore the trouble twelve years' tide...." Further, "sorrows in plenty, boundless cares" substitute a relative wh-clause, which, if written out, would read as: "which was sorrows in plenty and boundless cares." The full modified sentence would then read: "He, sovran of Scyldings, bore the trouble twelve years' tide, which was sorrows in plenty and boundless cares."

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial