Western Dragon Essay

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The difference in Dragons between traditional Eastern and Western cultures Pre-Workshop Early dragons in English literature, such as the dragon from St. George and the Dragon, were, as shown in Dragons in English, generally evil animals. They stayed holed up in their mountains, seeking treasure, eating knights and capturing princesses to their heart’s content. This type of dragon is still prominent in Western literature, such as the greedy old dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis, and the characters of Glaurung and Smaug from Tolkien’s writings. The same time period as the Opium Wars and the opening of Japan included a shift in Western dragon writings as well. The influence of Oriental mythology, most notably dragons, brought…show more content…
According to Oxford University Press, a dragon does not necessarily have traditional wings or breath of fire, but is large and serpentine, with four legs and possibly two more wings. Many supposed “dragons” are, according to modern definitions, wyrms instead of dragons, having two legs and two wings with claws instead of four legs. This is a fairly recent distinction, as the term “wyrm” has many subgroups. Drakes are yet another variant of a dragon, with four legs and no wings, which, according to the Oxford University Press, are included as a type of dragon, but, as shown in the description of Smaug by Tolkien as “a fire-drake from the North” juxtaposed with several accounts of Smaug flying, this distinction is frequently overlooked. Such distinctions are also fairly recent, as, historically, the term “wyrm” has referred only to repulsive, evil, or dangerous creatures, which, in light of the guarded, distrustful stance most Westerners have had towards dragons, makes sense that it would be a more Western term. This also adds further evidence to support the claim in Cheetham’s essay that the advent of easy international trade of ideas and goods created a greater diversity in Western dragon types, hence the change of the term “wyrm” from “disgusting” to “two-legged winged
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