Where Dragon Tales Came from and Their use Today - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-25
Where Dragon Tales Came from and Their use Today - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture Literature Animals
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1227 words
11 min read

Dragons belong to part of legendary tales that exist in various cultures. It is believed that dragon stories were developed independently in cultures from India to China, and from America to Europe. Dragon tales are dominant in the fantasy world, and one cannot fail to think where these fascinating tales depicting monsters started. While it is not known where these stories originated, it is argued that they emerged, at least starting from the ancient Greeks and Sumerians (“How Dragons Work”). Dragons are imbued with controversies; some are deemed to be protectors, while others are portrayed to be dangerous monsters. In some cultures, they were deemed to inhabit mountainous places and perceived to be protecting precious minerals such as gold.

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Regarding their dark side, the emergence of Christianity changed the narrative that dragons could have been protectors by portraying them as Satan's representatives. Most people in the medieval era are deemed to have heard about dragons from the bible. One description of a dragon in the bible can be found in the book of Job Chapter 41— it describes a massive animal with rows of shields that are tightly close to each other to the extent that no air can pass in between. These shields are also firms held close to each other so that they could not be separated (Radford, “Dragons"). Further, the animal is said to throw out flashes of light when it snorts, its mouth spews of flames, its nostrils pour out smoke, and its breath sets coal ablaze. Additionally, Christian legends of righteousness portrayed saints as slayers of dragons threatening people's lives. An example of such a Saint was St. George, also known as the Dragonslayer.

In Chinese culture, the dragon's tales are rampant, and their belief could be stronger than the rest of the world. After all, most Chinese celebrations barely exist without a dragon in the event, including the end-of-year celebrations. The Chinese dragon is deemed to be a lucky symbol and a divine being in the history of the country (Markarian, “Chinese Dragons").

The dragon also plays a major role in the creation myth of the Chinese. According to their belief, human beings were modeled from mud by Nu Gua, a goddess who had a woman's torso and the tail of a snake. Dragons were also used as symbols of unity, especially during tribal wars. It is worth noting that the Chinese culture recognizes nine dragons that can be found all over their art.

Are they Real?

Dragons' dominance and their related stories are feted with controversies as proof of their existence is concerned. Concerning their existence, the most recent, yet interesting stories concerning the animals featured the Komodo dragon, a reptile claimed to have been witnessed by sailors who were returning from Indonesia. According to the sailors, the Komodo dragon was a huge reptile that they believed was deadly and aggressive. Komodo dragon was previously known to constitute toxic bacteria in its saliva, hence its deadly nature (Stromberg, “Where Did Dragons Come From?”). Because these creatures existed in the area near Indonesia, scientists could debunk the narrative that their saliva was extremely dangerous. According to their investigations, the beast had a mouth that was as dirty as other carnivores. From the above scientific findings, it is hard to believe that other tales concerning dragons are absolute truths, especially because most stories are based on skeletal remains discovered from various parts of the world.

What Informed Dragon Tales

Stemming from the fact that dragons take various forms based on the culture of origin, there is a possibility the conceptual creation of dragons could have emanated from mere imaginations informed by massive animals that have existed in the history of humankind. Massive animals such as Dinosaurs, The Nile Crocodile, Whales, and The Goanna could have caused humanity to theorize stories about these beasts named dragons. Insofar as recent discoveries are concerned, dinosaur skeletons have been exhumed from various parts of the world, and these massive remains could have caused a misrepresentation. Dinosaur skeletons discovered by archeologists indicated massive animals that were, on average, 14 feet tall.

The Nile Crocodiles, which are recognizable by their massive bodies at 18 feet in length, are also known to have caused Europeans to theorize the concept of dragons (Stromberg, “Where Did Dragons Come From?”). These massive reptiles were capable of swimming in Italy or Greece through the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, the idea of European dragons that resembled massive crocodiles that could walk upright with their trunks elevated off the ground. Goannas are rampant figures in Australian folklore. They are described as beasts with sharp teeth and claws. Additionally, their saliva is deemed venomous and causes wounds to the victim after its attack. Discoveries of whale bones in ancient times could have caused people to misinterpret them for whales, probably because they had no way of knowing which animal they emanated from.

Other animals are thought to have contributed to the coining of the dragon concept, but most interesting is the idea that the human mind played a major role in conceptualizing the dragon concept. According to David E. Jones, the human mind was the impetus for the theorization of dragon tales stemming from the fact that humans are fearful beings (Stromberg, “Where Did Dragons Come From?”). According to the archeologists, human beings are innately fearful of predators such as snakes, elephants, and birds of prey, which he claimed were combined by folklorists to create the concept of dragons. Probably dragons are creatures that were conceptualized by humans stemming from their extreme fears of these animals.

Dragons in the Modern World

Historically, dragons have lived in various places such as mountains, caves, and water. In the modern world, testimonies of dragons' existence have resurfaced, most recently in June 2011 (“How Dragons Work”). Local shop owners in Northern Scotland have claimed to have sightings of "Nessie." The eyewitness shoppers have backed their claims using photographs, but they were disguised by scientists stemming from the fact that the pictures were out-of-focus. In the contemporary world, dragons continue to exist in human consciousness, as illuminated in movies, writings, and tattoos. Dragons' controversial issue persists in the current world, probably because professionals such as cryptozoologists perpetuate the idea that dragons exist.

The association of dragons with outlandish animals has previously confirmed an iota of truth concerning dragons through the Okapi (“How Dragons Work”). Initially, the Okapi, a cross between a donkey, a zebra, and a giraffe, was regarded as a fictional animal until scientists in the 1800s living in Africa discovered it. Whether dragons exist or not, it remains an interesting discussion that is not likely to end anytime soon. Dragons have gained value in various societies such as China and are also imperative components of the modern film industry.

Works Cited

“How Dragons Work.” HowStuffWorks, 3 Oct. 2011, science. Accessed 24 Sept. 2020, https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/strange-creatures/dragon4.htm.

Markarian, Taylor. “Chinese Dragons: Why They're So Important in Chinese Culture.” Reader's Digest, Reader's Digest, 22 Jan. 2020, Accessed 24 Sept. 2020, www.rd.com/article/chinese-dragon-important-chinese-culture/.

Radford, Benjamin. “Dragons: A Brief History of the Mythical, Fire-Breathing Beasts.” LiveScience, Purch, 11 Apr. 2019, Accessed 24 Sept. 2020, www.livescience.com/25559-dragons.html.

Stromberg, Joseph. “Where Did Dragons Come From?” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 23 Jan. 2012, Accessed 24 Sept. 2020, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/where-did-dragons-come-from-23969126/.

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