Dragons and Sins
Do not trust the dragon of wrath, for he brings bloodshed, destroying reconciliation.
Do not trust the dragon of gluttony, for he consumes rapaciously, leaving nothing for others.
Do not trust the dragon of envy, for he turns brother against brother.
Do not trust the dragon of luxury, for he desires all things for himself.
Do not trust the dragon of greed, for he sells anything so as to buy everything.
Do not trust the dragon of sloth, for he quells good deeds through inaction.
Do not trust the dragon of pride, for he would set himself equal to the firmament itself.
These words from the Storia are officially taken by the church as metaphorical. The 'dragons' are the seven sins that can stain the soul so direly that it remains affected beyond this lifetime. A soul that is too stained may damn itself to Inferno, never again to be reborn. However, there are some who believe that these lines should be taken literally: as an exhortation to beware dragon-kind itself. Certainly, each brood of evil dragons is prone to a particular sin more than others. However, they are all generally prone to multiple sins, and even dragons have the free will to turn from sin - they are all individuals.
Red dragons are prone to pride.
Blue dragons are prone to luxury.
Green dragons are prone to envy.
Black dragons are prone to greed.
Brown dragons are prone to gluttony.
Grey dragons are prone to wrath.
White dragons are prone to sloth.
The metallic 'good' dragons are not explicitly mentioned. Some theologians have claimed that they must be connected to the seven virtues, although they have not agreed about which dragons represent which virtues. Others argue that since the good dragons were created from the evil dragons, they share the predilections for particular sins. The most common associations of the good dragons with virtues or vices are given below.
Gold dragons were prone to pride and temperance.
Silver dragons are prone to luxury and charity.
Bronze dragons are prone to wrath and diligence.
Brass dragons are prone to sloth and humility.
Copper dragons are prone to gluttony and kindness.
Mercury dragons are prone to envy and patience.
Iron dragons are prone to greed and chastity.
Image: Detail from 'Launcelot du Lac.' Gaultier Moap, c. 1470.