Presentation of the Gothic Male Protagonist

To what extent does the characterization of Heathenish exemplify gothic elements? Emily Bronze’s Withering Heights’ is not necessarily described as a ‘gothic novel’; however it certainly exhibits many gothic elements throughout its narrative. These are present through the characterization of Heathenish as the gothic protagonist as he often exemplifies numerous characteristics of the male gothic archetype. This can be seen through the exploration of binary oppositions within his character, such as his simultaneous representation as both victim and Machiavellian villain.

This duality of character can be likened to the protagonist In ‘The Strange Case of Dry Jewell and My Hyde,’ in which an alternate persona is created in order to fulfill Dry Jelly’s evil desires. Although Heathenish does not create a defined alternate personality, his drastic inner contradictions are reminiscent of Dry Jelly’s, shown through his capable for intense love towards Catherine, and simultaneous tyrannical treatment of Isabella. Another prevalent gothic aspect which Is significant to the characterization of Heathenish Is his current associations with bestial and preternatural Influences.

Josephs assertion that ‘we’ve all as summate uh rather side in us,’ introduces the idea of being connection with bestial or non-human influences, a recurrent theme in the characterization of male protagonists within gothic literature. His appearance is a physical manifestation of his separation from the Earns family, aligning his with the ‘other’, describing him as a ‘dark skinned gypsy emphasizes his unknown parentage, marking him as an outsider.

Likewise the degrading term gypsy presents the Idea of being ‘underbred’, meanwhile his foreign appearance draws upon his connection with the exotic.

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Recurrent descriptions of him being ‘dark’ creates ambiguity of whether this is a reference to his race or his nature, heightening the enigma surrounding Heathenish. ‘It’s so dark almost as if it came from the devil’, through labeling him as ‘it’, the lack of nominal attribution disables him from ever truly being Integrated into the Earns family.

Satanic connotations draw upon the gothic theme of the supernatural and connect him to these evil Influences, acting as warning of his potentially destructive powers. Shelter associations of his characterization are once again highlighted through the description of his ‘basilisk eyes’, suggesting bestial and mythical connections. This constructs Heathenish as being in possession of considerable powers, whilst the annalistic qualities depict a degree of ‘other-worldliness. His continual connection with alternative influences further divides him from the Awareness: A lying fiend, a monster, and not a human being! ‘ This demonstration of Heathenish places him In a lamina sphere between human ND inhuman while ‘monster’ reinforces his brutality, distancing him from empathy or humanity, reminding us of his status as ‘other’. Claire Jones stated ‘Heathenish has only the singular name, which serves him as both Christian and surname. This places him radically outside social patterns and conventions.

The implantation of the protagonist lends his character to the constant alignment with the enigmatic and unconventionality rather than being accepted by the Awareness: subsequently being An archetype of the gothic male is the possession of considerable powers to create n imposing stance; as stated by David Punter they often ‘stalk the pages of the novel’, adding to the subtle terror present within gothic literature. Throughout the narrative the striking physical appearance of Heathenish is communicated to the reader, an aspect constructed through his dominance.

Even after death the protagonist holds a power over the remaining characters. Through using a dash ‘close his eyes -‘ Bronze creates a fragmented, breathless tone and we adopt Kneels fearful nature as we are forced to pause and reflect on Heathenishly threatening presence. Likewise as a consequence of her feeble attempts ‘l tried’, her fears are projected onto the reader as we adopt her perspective throughout due to her dominance in relaying the narrative.

Her tentative nature ‘If possible’ reinforces his striking physicality as Newly appears to be confronting a considerable force, this notion is emphasizes through continual reference to his ‘life-like gaze’ which denotes a threatening presence. Meanwhile her doubtful tone is indicative of his ability to transcend the boundary between life and death as her contains passions which Anton be constrained in death. The preternatural nature of Heathenish is communicated through his physical description they would not shut’.

Through the use of his eyes as the focal point, a satanic, defiant power is suggested while his ‘sharp, white teeth’ convey his tyrannical behavior through the annalistic connection. This can also be likened to a vampire descriptions which is reminiscent of ‘Count Drachma’ from Stoker’s Drachma, thus creating a threatening tone through the linking of both protagonists as it suggests reverent behavior. Heathenishly physical ability is communicated ‘a blow form Heathenish is significant as it is demonstrative of the ease with which he can inflict harm in a single blow.

Binary oppositions are often utilized as a vehicle for portraying Heathenishly duality of character, a collective trait within gothic protagonists. A recurrent aspect of his characterization is the representation of him to the reader as both victim and villain. The description of his ‘lip of devoid of their ferocious sneer’ exemplifies his manipulative nature and constructs his capability for savagery as constant and a defining trait within his harasser. As he is devoid of this malicious gaze, we glimpse a rare of his inner vulnerability.

This is reiterated through his ‘unspeakable sadness’ which outlines the contradictions which occur within the characterization of Heathenish. Despite this, we are unable to ever truly sympathies with the protagonist as any helplessness we are shown the stray sheep’ us immediately contradicted through the use of contrasting imagery ‘an evil beast’. This leaves the reader in a state of ambivalence towards Heathenish as his potential for evil is omnipresent, even in times of weakness.

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Presentation of the Gothic Male Protagonist. (2017, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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