Wuthering Heights Essays

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Heathcliff is not inherently evil, but rather he is a victim of the judgement and social prejudices of Victorian Society. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights explores the deep romantic connection between Catherine Linton and the dark-skinned gypsy, Heathcliff and the effect their supernatural relationship has on their heirs. Initially, through Nelly’s interpretation, Heathcliff is seen as the villain of the novel unjustifiably upsetting the lives of the novels most innocent characters.

However, on deeper analysis of Nelly’s unreliable story, it becomes evident that Heathcliff’s satanic actions stem from his deprivation of love and sympathy.

As well as society’s assumption that he is merely more than “an imp from Satan. ” Heathcliff’s villainous actions stem from his lack of love and sympathy as a child. Found “as good as dumb in the streets of Liverpool” Heathcliff experiences neglect from an early age. Not even after being found by Mr Earnshaw who “took to Heathcliff strangely …

petting him up far above Cathy” does Heathcliff ever experience belonging.

Through his childhood at Wuthering Heights Heathcliff has to stand Hindley’s abuse and be forced to live like a servant after Mr Earnshaw’s death. This treatment he receives as a child reflects on the way he treats the other characters in the novel, in particular Hareton, who is Heathcliff’s opportunity for revenge on Hindley. Hareton is treated by Heathcliff in much the same way as Heathcliff was treated by Hindley after Earnshaw’s death.

Wuthering Heights Sample Essays

Heathcliff reduces Hareton “to a state of complete dependence on his father’s inveterate enemy; and lives in his own house as a servant.

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” Though his treatment of Hareton is terrible, it is the only treatment Heathcliff knows. Unlike Hindley, Heathcliff is aware of his treatment, describing Hareton as “the ghost of my immortal love; of my wild endeavours to hold my right; my degradation, my pride, my happiness and my anguish. ” Heathcliff’s ability to recognise the similarities between him and Hareton shows his less satanic side and proves that he is not the creator of evil but rather the victim of it.

Heathcliff’s intense love for Catherine is behind most of his evil actions. Heathcliff falls passionately in love with Catherine and she, too, is passionately in love with Heathcliff claiming “he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. ” However Cathy’s want of social advancement separates her and Heathcliff as she believes “it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff. “It is ultimately Catherine’s connection with Edgar that divides the pair and induces Heathcliff’s evil nature.

Through Catherine’s marriage Heathcliff is denied the only love he has ever had which causes him to deny others of love. Catherine’s daughter, Cathy explains this when she states “Mr Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you; and, however miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery. ” Heathcliff’s greatest misery is the death of Catherine, which intensifies his malicious treatment of Isabella and is the reason for the forced marriage of Linton and Cathy, as they can provide him with money.

Without his love all Heathcliff has for fulfilment is money and power over the other characters, this is shown when he insists Cathy return to Wuthering Heights merely so he can have his “children about me. ” However this does not make Heathcliff evil, his occasionally satanic actions are merely a cause of his separation from his only love. “The fury of Heathcliff’s revenge is the equal and opposite reaction to the intensity of is love,” his ability to love proves that he is not “an imp of Satan” but “lonely like the devil, and envious like him.

” Heathcliff’s actions mirror the way the other characters in Wuthering Heights expect him to act. The Victorian Society from which Wuthering Heights is set is highly preoccupied with image and reputation obtained at birth. So therefore Heathcliff, an orphan with no last name, is seen to society as having no social class. From the moment Heathcliff enters the Earnshaw household he is stereotyped as a “gypsy brat” and a “foulmouthed thief”, facing torment and abuse from Hindley on a regular basis over his heritage.

The other characters in the novel constantly expect him to be doing wrong, and once Catherine deserts him he gives in to their stereotyping. Heathcliff lives up to the expectation that he is a “venomous serpent” and a “mad dog,” and commits evil actions because no one expects any different from him. This is shown when Catherine is taken in by the Lintons and Mrs Linton refers to Heathcliff “as a wicked boy … Quite unfit for a decent house! ” Heathcliff responds to this comment by recommencing the cursing that caused him to be named “a wicked boy” and proving to Mrs Linton that he is as he is stereotyped, an “urchin from Liverpool.

” Though Nelly tries to convince the reader otherwise, Heathcliff was not always as devilish as “he would stand Hindley’s blows without winking or shedding a tear. ” Heathcliff gives the reader no indication of wanting revenge or causing harm until years after his introduction to the Earnshaw family. This proves that Heathcliff does not enter Wuthering Heights with the intention of causing harm, but rather the constant stereotyping and the expectation that he is as an evil gypsy causes him to become “a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man. ” Heathcliff is a victim of social prejudice rather than a fiend from hell.

As Wuthering Heights progresses so too does our understanding of Heathcliff and the complexity of his nature. Though initially Nelly’s interpretation causes the reader to see Heathcliff as inherently evil, a deeper analysis of his character proves otherwise. Heathcliff is mistreated and denied love and sympathy from an early age which causes him to act in a satanic manner with no regard for the feeling of others. Heathcliff’s nature is mainly influenced from his lack of love, his intense feelings for Catherine and societies expectations.

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Wuthering Heights Essays. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-4349-wuthering-heights/

Wuthering Heights Essays
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