I am writing a period-piece play based in London circa 1660s and wrote a poetic line that alludes to the crocodile as a "fearsome foe" or of much "danger and dread".
I examined every mention of the word "crocodile" in Shakespeare (not too-too before the play's set-period) and its etymology origin (which states it meant a large amphibious reptile) dates from the 1560s.
Shakespeare never considers the "crocodile" like an animal of dread but rather, according to its mention in Othello being the much older "crocodile-tears" reference, which I thus conclude that it must have been regarded as having a cunningness to it, but would it have been considered in any way of "exotic horror" or "dread"? Which I arguably will consider as the more accepted, modern-day connotation which lies in them.
O devil, devil!
If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
Out of my sight!
And furthermore, if my distinction and confinement of basing the connotation to London 1660s is much too specific, then any insight on the connotations of the word anywhere in the 17th Century would be most well regarded and thanked.
P.S. Since I am already asking on the basis of the "crocodile", anything on the timed connotations of the "alligator", which I know is attested to the mid-16th century origin, would be appreciated likewise.