The black dog, the highest ranking member of the mafia of dogs, which Cur, one of the five main protagonists of 'Five Wounds', is destined to lead. This 'unnaturally black dog' is the object of fear and an omen of devilish deeds to the superstitious inhabitants of 'Five Wounds'. This reputation is perpetuated by the 'Comittee for Public Health' who order, from Mr.X, black dogs to urinate on selected door posts, as a portent of doom, in an area of the city where the government is planning a controlled outbreak of the plague.
(The Venetian Ghetto today)
The sect of dogs is based in the Ghetto. The Ghetto in Venice was the area of the city where the Jewish community was forced to live. Its boundaries were controlled and policed by night. Due to the population being forced to grow in an enclosed area, the houses in the Ghetto had an unusually high number of floors, perhaps the equivalent to today's tower blocks.
The Black Dog.
(Goya's black dog)
Jon & I never discussed what the black dog meant, so I made my own interpretations and drew my own conclusions from his writing, as I was encouraged to do so. The figure of the black dog is most recognized as a metaphor for depression, possibly made widely known by Winston Churchill, who referred to his own depressive moods in this way.
The Black Dog of Myth.
"If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die".
Another 'black dog' is the mythological phantom black dog from folklore, a giant dog with glowing eyes, believed to be a terrifying portent of death, although on other accounts it is protective and watches over people making their way home at night. Most people will be aware of the ghost dog in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.