Werewolves are human beings that have some how become united with an animal, in this case the wolf. This unification can be spiritual, psychological, biological, magical, or a combination of the above. The result is a creature that possesses some of the traits of the wolf, and some of the traits of the human. This combination can play out in a number of ways, some of which may be beneficial, but most of which are problematic.
In almost all literary cases the werewolf starts out as a human that is then somehow infused with wolf like characteristics. It can work the other way around, but it makes easier logical sense to bring out the animal side in a human, than it does to completely add a cognitive logical and social function to an animal.
Once a human takes on the characteristics of the wolf they are presented with a number of challenges. Often the animal side of the personality will cause them to do or say things that they wouldn't otherwise find themselves capable of. If the change happens in conjunction with a physical transformation, it is possible that they could become quite dangerous to the people around them.
The traditional werewolf model has a person changing into a wolf man beast during the full moon, at which point they go on a killing rampage, devouring friend and foe alike.
More modern imaginings give the werewolves the ability to change at will, making them much more powerful, and in control of the world around them. However these creatures usually have personality problems, taking on undesirable traits of the wolf within.
The idea of a werewolf is a merging of human and animal into a single being. This is an idea that is born of our own psychologies, with the animalistic lusts that we feel sitting just beneath the thin veneer of civilized thought that rules us throughout the day.
© Jim Slate
Source: Jim Slate
Published: November 10, 2009