Wuthering Heights Allusions

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The miser was such a “Scrooge”. The addict was drawn in by the casino’s “siren song”. The hall monitor was never one to “cry wolf”. No matter where one goes, what they read, they will see or hear some sort of allusion. Some allusions have become so ingrained into the English language that some no longer recognize them as allusions, just as common expressions. From “it’s all Greek to me” to “off with her head” to even “I haven’t slept one wink” or “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, allusions are everywhere. Whether the allusions are mythological, Biblical, or Shakespearean, one cannot expect to read any piece of literature, especially not Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, without finding quite a few references to other pieces of work.

The novel, Wuthering Heights, written by Ellis Bell, aka Emily Bronte, is overflowing with references to other famous works. Although this novel was written quite a few years ago, Bronte alluded to pieces of work even further back than the 1800s AD, sometimes even as far as the 1800s BC. As do almost all literary masters of any time, Bronte used allusions to Greek mythology to help readers relate to the plot line from a different perspective. In one part of the novel, Bronte’s character Heathcliff tricked a young lady named Isabella into marrying him, by appealing to the emotional side of her brain, instead of the logical. Heathcliff’s entire reasoning for marrying her was to make his past love jealous, anger Isabella’s brother, and basically, just give himself a new challenge in torturing people who believe in the honesty of true love. In a moment where he finds that Isabella has developed a hatred for him, he does not mourn, but in fact sees it as “a positive labour of Hercules” (Bronte 149). Bronte creates this allusion to the 12 superhuman tasks of Hercules in order to express to the reader exactly how much strength and pride Heathcliff put into giving people the feeling of hatred that has festered inside of him for so long. Then,...
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