Dragons, for example, are usually giant fearless creatures that destroy anything and everything in their way. They capture maidens, kill knights and possess extraordinary confidence, but the dragon in this poem shows none of those characteristics. The majority of his section is filled with complaints about his portrayal in the painting. like the angle he was painted at, and he is upset that two of his feet weren’t in the painting. He also has no interest in the maiden that he has captured, he actually finds her quite ugly. All he is worrying about is what people are going to think of him, when usually a dragon wouldn’t care, all they want to do is kill, and capture, but this dragon shows little confidence or interest in those tasks.
Traditionally maidens are supposed to be pure at heart and pure at mind, but this maiden is in no way like that. She is very much attracted to the dragon who has captured her and she has no interest in being rescued, by the possibly ugly knight. Her lust towards that dragon is very strong, and her supposed “pure” mind is actually quite dirty. Unfortunately, her little crush must end because the dragon was defeated, which meant she might as well run off with the Knight who “saved” her, because she needs to think about her future.
The knight in this story cares little about the maiden he is saving and more about his credibility as a Knight. He has all the latest horse, and weapons, and he is the most qualified to slay the dragon. He wants to finish the job that was assigned to him and he doesn’t understand why this maiden won’t just get out of his way so he can rescue her and add another achievement to his already stacked resume. He portrays a more modern mind then the customary knight, and work is most important to him. Each speaker from each section is showing a different side, then readers would usually see or expect, and the sides they are showing are pretty unpleasant which is why the poem is called “Not My Best Side”. There is also humor added to the usually serious love story.
the dragon, unlike it’s mythological counterpart has quite a sophisticated vocabulary, use of adjectives like ‘ostentatiously beardless’ and the idiom ‘old chap’ suggests an intelligent, well spoken, stereotypical British, Upper Class gentleman, the antithesis of a ferocious monster. The line ‘Not my best side, I’m afraid.’, reveals the dragon’s self conciousness and obsession with appearance, a reocurring theme.
The nouns ‘artist’ and ‘pose’ indicate the poem is about a character in a painting and the dragon is highly critical of both the painter, ‘Poor chap, he had this obsession with Triangles, so he left off two of my Feet.’ and the other characters, ‘Why should my victim be so Unattractive as to be inedible,’. It is the comical and conversational tone that makes the dragon so likeable and lots of rhetorical questions draw the reader in, particularly ‘(What, after all, are two feet To a monster?)’ which, enclosed in brackets gives the impression the dragon is addressing the reader directly.
Continuing the pattern of reversing the stereotypes, the girl is presented as a slightly feminist, with a mind of her own, ‘It’s hard for a girl to be sure if She wants to be rescued.’, not the….
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