What Is Heathcliff's Symbolism In Wuthering Heights

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The black dog is a malicious spirit and an omen of death. Heathcliff is the black dog that haunts the moors of Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights, and she uses dogs as both hallmarks for Heathcliff’s savage behavior and heralds of his misdeeds. The canine comparisons also bleed into descriptions of Hareton, whom Heathcliff raised in his image. Additionally, the actions of the dogs, as well as Heathcliff’s actions towards them, give insight into his beastly character and foreshadow his transgressions against other characters.
The first example of dogs’ behavior foretelling Heathcliff’s behavior is in the first chapter of Wuthering Heights. Mr. Lockwood tries to pet Juno, a dog, but she rebukes him with a growl, prompting Heathcliff to
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Cathy, who deeply loves Heathcliff, even goes so far as to call him “an unreclaimed creature, without refinement - without cultivation… He’s not a rough diamond - a pearl-containing oyster of rustic; he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man” (Brontë 121) while trying to dissuade Isabella from marrying him. True to her word, Heathcliff does “crush [Isabella], like a sparrow’s egg” (Brontë 121), and she scorns him for it, saying that he “is not a human being” (Brontë 179), and is therefore not worthy of her …show more content…
For example, Isabella is introduced to a rather coarse young Hareton upon her initial entry into Wuthering Heights. He’s lurking in a shadowy kitchen with Throttler, an aggressive bulldog, which he threatens set on Isabella if she bothers him. Because of Hareton’s behavior and his blatant favor for Heathcliff over his own father, Hindley deems the boy an “unnatural cub” (Brontë 96), and threatens to crop his ears, like a dog’s, because it “makes a dog fiercer” (Brontë 96). Then Hareton quite literally falls from grace into Heathcliff’s grasp after the child “delivered himself from the careless grip” (Brontë 96) of his father. Thereafter, Heathcliff actively seeks to “twist” (Brontë 191) Hareton the way Hindley twisted him so that the boy will “grow as crooked” (Brontë 191) as Heathcliff himself. From then on, Hareton is subject to the same “dogged behavior” (Brontë 292) and bestial descriptors as Heathcliff. Young Cathy, seeking to enrage Hareton, berates him for his lack of education and ceaseless labor and toil, saying that he is “just like a dog… or a cart-horse... He does his work, eats his food, and sleeps eternally! What a blank, dreary mind he must have” (Brontë 290). In response, he shows the same black temper that has characterized Heathcliff throughout the novel. In response,

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