Oh, You Animal!

     While watching Los Abismos de Pasion, the 1954 Mexican adaptation of Emily Brontė's 1847 novel, Wuthering Heights, directed by Luis Buńuel, I realized something. I realized that the animals which are killed are very symbolic of the characters in the film.

     The first place we see the killing of animals is at the beginning of the film where Eduardo (played by Earnesto Alonso) is adding butterflies to his collection. He takes them and places them on a board and mounts them to it with pins while they are still living. In my opinion this symbolizes how he thinks of his wife, Catalina (played by Irasema Dilian). He treats his wife as if she is a trophy for him, and he seems to be killing her slowly just as he kills his butterflies. It seems as though he sees Catalina as nothing but beauty that he must possess just as he sees his butterflies.

     The next example of animal symbolism is Catalina killing buzzards. Buzzards are birds which feed off of the carcasses of other animals and have the reputation of circling the wounded animals waiting for them to die. Catalina seems much like the buzzards that she kills. She is quite mean spirited at times especially when she basically pushes Alejandro (portrayed by Jorge Mistral) together with Isabel (played by Lilia Prado) by telling Alejandro about the feelings that Isabel has for him.

     The last example is that of the hog which is killed by Alejandro. There is an obvious symbolism by the brutal way this animal is killed as well as what kind of animal it is. The brutality shows how brutally vengenful Alejandro's personality truly is while the swine itself symbolizes what sort of man he is: a swine. Alejandro's vengeance upon Catalina and Edwardo is to marry Edwardo's sister, Isabel, and then treat her horribly. Isabel was an innocent girl who married Alejandro because she thought he would treat her well but found out that she had married a total pig.

     Clearly the use of animal symbolism in the films enhanced the depiction of the characters, with their animal characteristics.

Nolan Patton

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