Heathcliff is a character with a bad past, which shapes him to be the person he is; his history also affects his relationship with those around him. I felt that Heathcliff is a very important character who has a special antiquity, which points Withering Heights in the direction that Brontë intended it to be.
Heathcliff is a victim of class hatred but he also manipulates situations to his advantage and becomes an arch - exploiter. For example, after the death of his wife, Hindley went insane. Heathcliff used this opportunity to take revenge and took Wuthering Heights away from Hindley. He then went further and married Edgar’s sister, not for love or monetary gain but to get back at Edgar for marrying Catherine, and treated Edgar’s sister terribly.
His wife, Mrs. Earnshaw, is furious that Heathcliff has been brought into the house and the Earnshaws’ son, Hindley, is jealous of the apparent love his father
13. Mr. Earnshaw returned home from Liverpool with an orphan (Heathcliff). His daughter Catherine took to Heathcliff, as did Mr. Earnshaw, but Hindley hated the boy and tortured him. Heathcliff had to be hard and insensible in order to cope with Hindley’s abuses. Nelly Dean repeatedly describes Heathcliff as “sullen.”
Upon hindsight following the two novels, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, one would label the monster and Heathcliff to be nothing short of villainous characters. Throughout each individual novel the two leads perform heinous actions that should leave readers feeling repulsed, and with no ounce of sympathy towards the principal characters; nonetheless, it is impossible not to. Heathcliff and the monster are not evil but rather characters to sympathize, both are the products of their environment and correspondingly, although for divergent reasons, are motivated by the supereminent emotions—love and hate.
Brontë shows how cruelty passes through generations through Hindley’s mistreatment towards Heathcliff. From the moment Mr. Earnshaw adopts Heathcliff, Hindley enters a state of melancholy and loathes that his father clearly favors Heathcliff over him. Mr. Earnshaw’s adoption of Heathcliff upsets Hindley, his father clearly favors Heathcliff over him. Consequently, Hindley reciprocates this hatred when he meets Heathcliff, comparing him to satan and wishing for his death. Heathcliff, unable to act against these cruel words, silently absorbs them. This interaction reveals traits of each character: the maliciousness of Hindley’s character, who hates on the young Heathcliff without reason; and the timidity of Heathcliff, fostered by his inability to stand up for himself. Although timid at the moment, Heathcliff assimilates this cruelty so that he can inflict it upon others, just as Hindley does the same to him. This depicts how the victim of suffering develops into the bearer of cruelty. Soon after Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley assumes control of his household and unleashes even more cruelty on Heathcliff. In a fit of
In Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Catherine's death unleashes powerful emotions in both Hindley and Heathcliff that result in a bloody conflict from which Heathcliff emerges the true master of Thrushcross Grange. Though there are many different kinds of masters, in Wuthering Heights, masters are the people with power; the power that people like Hindley are born to have, and people like Heathcliff strive to gain. Hindley and Heathcliff have struggled for power ever since Hindley’s father brought Heathcliff home, and in chapter 17, Heathcliff finally wins their lifelong war. During Isabella’s narration, she recounts that, after having tried and failed to kill Heathcliff, who in return hit him in the face with a rock, “[Hindley] had fallen senseless… [Heathcliff] kicked and trampled him… He exerted preterhuman self-denial in abstaining from
As a young orphan who is brought to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is thrown into abuse as Hindley begins to treat Heathcliff as a servant in reaction to Mr. Earnshaw’s death. As a reaction to both this and Catherine discarding Heathcliff for Edgar, Heathcliff’s sense of misery and embarrassment causes him to change and spend the rest of his time seeking for justice. Throughout this time, Heathcliff leans on violence to express the revenge that he so seeks by threatening people and displaying villainous traits. However, Heathcliff’s first symptom of change in personality is when Heathcliff runs into Hareton after Cathy “tormented
Heathcliff is introduced in Nelly's narration as a seven-year-old Liverpool foundling (probably an Irish famine immigrant) brought back to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw. His presence in Wuthering Heights overthrows the prevailing habits of the Earnshaw family, members of the family soon become involved in turmoil and fighting and family relationships become spiteful and hateful. Even on his first night, he is the reason Mr. Earnshaw breaks the toys he had bought for his children. "From the very beginning he bred bad feelings in the house". Heathcliff usurps the affections of Mr. Earnshaw to the exclusion of young Hindley-: "The young master had learnt to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a
Heathcliff’s loathing feelings against Hindley even last long after Hindley’s death. Heathcliff has created a demonic reality in which his mistreatment of Hereton will enable him to gain revenge against Hindley. Heathcliff also maintains his revenge by becoming extremely possessive of the Heights. Heathcliff’s vicious watch dogs ensure the security of the Heights because maintaining complete control of the Heights continues his revenge against Hindley.
The relationship between Heathcliff and Hindley revealed and developed the abusive nature of Heathcliff. Heathcliff was taken in as a young boy into a wealthy family that had two children. Ever since the day he was brought home the eldest son, Hindley, resented how the father favored him more. For example, Heathcliff threatened to tell their father if Hindley did not let him have his horse. This one childish threat had created the foundation of the resentment between the two men. Heathcliff threatened to tell their father that Hindley was making him feel unwelcome and abused emotionally, Hindley decided to not see if Heathcliff was going to follow through with the threat therefore gave him the horse. Later on through life, once the father dies, Hindley decides to take his absence as an excuse to start really physically abusing Heathcliff. He would beat him and punch him without thought of how this would transfer into the rest of his life. Heathcliff was also verbally assaulted by Hindley which is a twist on the traditional sense of cruelty. Hindley is demeaning towards Heathcliff and calls him a slave and make sure that he know that he is not equal with himself or his sister Catherine. This point planted the seed of doubt and not being good enough for the rest of his life. This continual mental assault forged the mindset of little Heathcliff to how he would exact revenge on Hindley for all of his wrongdoings. This cruelty from Hindley was due to the favoritism that Heathcliff received as a child, the death of his father, the death of his wife, and the constant reminder of his wife through his son. The constant cruelty is the motive for Heathcliff's actions once he returns to the Heights. Through baiting Hindley, in his own personal torment from his wife's passing, all the money and possessions are gambled away with Heathcliff as the new owner. Wuthering Heights itself
The social classes in Wuthering Heights are an insight to the society that Emily Bronte experienced. The British society of 1770 wasn’t accepting of a person with darker features which is reflected in how Heathcliff is treated in the novel. Orphans were also never meant to rise from their station below the servants. This is an insight into why Hindley Earnshaw hated Heathcliff and referred to him as a usurper of his father’s affections. When Hidley became master of Wuthering Heights he returned Heathcliff to his “rightful” place.
This later Heathcliff is characterized by a coldness, by an incapacity to love and ultimately by consuming passion for revenge against those who have abused him. Just as he begins life, he ends life as an unloved, lonely outsider.
The presentation of childhood is a theme that runs through two generations with the novel beginning to reveal the childhood of Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw, and with the arrival of the young Liverpudlian orphan, Heathcliff. In chapter four, Brontë presents Heathcliff’s bulling and abuse at the hands of Hindley as he grows increasingly jealous of Heathcliff for Mr. Earnshaw, his father, has favoured Heathcliff over his own son, “my arm, which is black to the shoulder” the pejorative modifier ‘black’ portrays dark and gothic associations but also shows the extent of the abuse that Heathcliff as a child suffered from his adopted brother. It is this abuse in childhood that shapes Heathcliff’s attitudes towards Hindley and his sadistic
When one starts reading Wuthering heights I’m sure they think to themselves that the book will be just another romantic novel. They wait for Heathcliff to come around the whole story, and for him and Catherine to end up together, but it doesn’t happen. This causes Heathcliff to get progressively, more and more alienated by the people around him. He only wants what he can’t have and this is why he is referred to as a Byronic Hero. It is my intention to prove Heathcliff as a Byronic Hero by classifying him under the six attributes of the archetype.