The Canis-lupus duality: A narrative history of the wolf

Dawn Bessee

Abstract

The literary depiction of the wolf has always been a reflection of the cultural regard for the Canis lupus. In Europe and Greece, the wolf was used to characterize unsavory qualities and was correlated to death or punishment. In religious references, the cunning viciousness of the wolf demonstrated how humans should behave themselves, as well as how to recognize and avoid such characters to prevent falling victim or suffering dire consequences. Asian, Russian, and Native American narratives portrayed the wolf as a noble creature that embodied a reverence for nature, family, and a higher power. The dual modalities of Canis lupus have continued to permeate modern narratives. Well-known fairy tales have undergone various revisions, and qualities of the wolf are embedded in characters of popular literature series including Harry Potter and Twilight. The duality of the wolf continues to be a means to illuminate the internal struggle between good and evil.

Keywords

Fairy tales, myths, wolf, Canis lupus, animal, culture

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References

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Categories: 2013, Articles, Creative Storytelling

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