A two-part analysis of the structure of the epic poem Beowulf. The structure is best examined by dividing the plot into two parts, between Beowulf's youth and his old age. This is because a clear change in Beowulf's demeanor exists between these two ages.
I view the structure of this poem as having two parts, divided between Beowulf's youth and his old age. It is more appropriately divided this way, since there is a clear change in Beowulf's demeanor between these two ages. In his youth, he is strong and powerful, almost cocky about his own skills: "Grendel is no braver, no stronger/Than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not, /Easy as it would be" (44 Raffel). In his old age, Beowulf is increasingly aware of his mortality: "The battle-brave king rested on the shore, /While his soldiers wished him well, urged him/On. But Beowulf's heart was heavy:/His soul sensed how close fate/Had come, felt something, not fear but knowledge/Of old age" (98).
In addition, we see a clear division between the antagonists in Beowulf's youth, versus the dragon he battles in old age...