The Big Bad Wolf
There are many stock characters , repeating archetypes that are present in stories all over the world. However few are as constant as the figure of the Big Bad Wolf, a giant predator which would gobble his victims up in one single bite. Appearing in many cautionary tales – stories that are created to warn people from real danger – the figure of the wolf became the most famous archetype of menacing predatory antagonist.
Back in the early days of the civilization many lessons were passed through oral tradition, and one way to secure people’s interest is through stories. The fear of wolf attacks was a very real problem at the time in Europe and many other regions, especially in smaller settlements surrounded by wildness. For a very long time the wolf was a symbol of power, danger and ferocity.
One of the first known folklorists was a slave and storyteller named Aesop, believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564BC. Being mentioned by Herodotus and Plato, Aesop’s fables were already pretty famous at the time and came from various origins and many were attributed to him without actual proof of authorship. Nonetheless, out of the many stories about wolves there are four of them that eventually became associated with the figure of the Big Bad Wolf.