Victim vs. Victimizer Readers often pity literary characters who play the role of a victim. In Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Heathcliff: an outsider brought into the wealthy Earnshaw family, Hindley: the eldest Earnshaw child with a strong dislike for Heathcliff, and Hareton: the orphaned child Heathcliff takes in to raise, are victims, yet they evolve to perpetuate the abuse they suffered. Being able to be or become a victim or victimizer show the complexity of these characters. Emily Bronte manipulates readers to pity Heathcliff, Hindley, and Hareton, in spite of the hideous pain they inflict on others. John Hagan states, “Wuthering Heights is such a remarkable work partly because it persuades us to forcibly pity victims and …show more content…
Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?” (Bronte 106). Isabella questions Heathcliff’s humanity, revealing that Heathcliff uses his pain to fuel the harm he inflicts on others. Hareton Earnshaw, a victim of Hindley, Heathcliff, and Cathy, stands up for himself, shocking the reader’s perception of his character. Hareton is a victim of his father’s alcohol abuse and gambling addiction. These addictions are a result of Frances’ death and the reader becomes sympathetic towards Hindley; however, Hareton is the innocent victim affected by the lack of care from his father. Hareton is a toddler when Hindley holds him over the railing of a staircase, threatening his life. Once Hindley dies, Heathcliff takes on the responsibility to care for young Hareton. He does not know that he is being used as part of Heathcliff’s plan to get revenge on Hindley for abusing him as a child. Heathcliff wishes to keep Hareton ignorant and uneducated in an effort to degrade him. When describing Hareton, Nelly, the house servant, says, “He appeared to have bent his malevolence on making him a brute: he was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any bad habit which did not annoy his keeper; never led a single step towards virtue, or guarded by a single precept against vice” (Bronte 152). Hareton is a victim to society because he is kept an uncivilized and ignorant young man. The reader feels sympathetic towards him because he is made to be an inferior
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Hareton is introduced at an early age to domestic abuse, both physical and mental, that leads him to distort his mind on how he views life and who he has to respect. From his birth, Hindley’s father detests him and wishes to avoid all contact with his son. The death of Hareton’s mother upon his birth greatly troubles his father Hindley who
Hareton is thus reduced to an inhuman “it.” It is not surprising, then, that Hareton is afraid of his father, but Hindley is angered because this reminds him of his failure as a father. Declaring that Hareton should be “cropped” like a fierce dog, Hindley drops his son over the railing of a staircase when the latter shrinks away from him. He is unperturbed when Nelly exclaims: “He hates you – they all hate you – that’s the truth! A happy family you have, and a pretty state you’re come to!” (77). Hindley does not seem to comprehend that physical abuse leads not to love but to fear and hatred – and ultimately, alienation from his family.
In Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Heathcliff’s strong love for Catherine guides his transformation as a character. While Heathcliff enters the story as an innocent child, the abuse he receives at a young age and his heartbreak at Catherine’s choice to marry Edgar Linton bring about a change within him. Heathcliff’s adulthood is consequently marked by jealousy and greed due to his separation from Catherine, along with manipulation and a deep desire to seek revenge on Edgar. Although Heathcliff uses deceit and manipulation to his advantage throughout the novel, he is never entirely content in his current situation. As Heathcliff attempts to revenge Edgar Linton, he does not gain true fulfillment. Throughout Wuthering Heights, Brontë uses Heathcliff’s vengeful actions to convey the message that manipulative and revenge-seeking behaviors will not bring a person satisfaction.
Through self-centered and narcissistic characters, Emily Bronte’s classic novel, “Wuthering Heights” illustrates a deliberate and poetic understanding of what greed is. Encouraged by love, fear, and revenge, Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff, and Linton Heathcliff all commit a sin called selfishness.
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.
Cruelty compels one to inflict cruelty upon others. In her novel, Wuthering Heights, Brontë illustrates the rough life of Heathcliff, conflicted with whether he should focus his life on loving Catherine Earnshaw or inflicting revenge on those who tortured him as a child. Mr. Earnshaw adopts Heathcliff into the Earnshaw family as an orphan gypsy, a social class that most of the Earnshaw did not care for. The eldest child of Mr. Earnshaw, Hindley, abuses Heathcliff horribly, shaping the way Heathcliff perceives the world around him. Catherine Earnshaw, Hindley’s younger sister, motivates Heathcliff to endure this pain through their affectionate relationship. With his heart focused on revenge, Heathcliff devises a cruel plan to retaliate those who hurt him; he returns to Wuthering Heights as a refined, powerful man. He takes some of his anger out on Hareton Earnshaw, Hindley’s son; this parallels Hindley’s abuse towards Heathcliff. Through Hindley’s and Heathcliff’s abusiveness in Wuthering Heights, Brontë asserts that cruelty cycles from its perpetrators to its victims.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was published in 1847 and received many contradictory judgements. One main judgement that criticized the novel was how multiple characters can have a change in characterization depending on the reader. Many of the novel's characters, such as Heathcliff, possess positive values, but readers tend to focus on their negative qualities which allows these characters to change. Growing up poor and homeless, Heathcliff’s character changes many times throughout the novel as he grows older and possess negative qualities towards other characters. Later residing as an old, lonely master, Heathcliff’s change in character at the end of Wuthering Heights signifies that he has gone mad and leads to intentions that Heathcliff has not committed suicide, but lost all will after all he has been through.
Human beings can be truly deranged creatures. Often times they are seen as elevating and putting themselves on a pedestal. They will treat people who are not the same as them as they are garbage and worthless. Although it is not their fault to simply put it, it is human nature. More specifically the ugliness of human nature. The complex characters in Wuthering Heights are guilty of this. Their circumstances drive them to do unthinkable things which unfortunately have drastic outcomes. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is a beautifully written novel that shows the ugliness of human nature as seen through the depiction of toxic relationships, displaying revenge and vengeance in the differentiation of social class.
First of all, Hareton is one of the two last characters that remain alive until the end of the story and also one of the “winners” of the novel. Hareton’s kindness and goodness extricate all the wickedness of his family starting from Hindley and Heathcliff to Young Linton. Almost until the end of the story, nobody considers him because Heathcliff’s maleficence has never given him the possibility to express himself. At the end of the novel, the real Hareton appears; he starts to court Young Cathy and to rebel against Heathcliff’s bullying and arrogance. He is romantic and loving boy towards Cathy and he gets an education by learning how to read with her. “The task was done, not free from further blunders; but the pupil claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses, which however he generously returned” (Bronte 308). Hareton is the one in the story to reflect the most Mr. Earnshaw personality; he brings positivity to the novel. With Young Cathy almost the same situation occurs. She is raised in an opposite circumstance to where her mother was born, and so her purity and goodness “hide” all of her mother’s sins and errors. Not being aware of what her
was to run away to the moors in the morning and remain there all day."
As Heathcliff seeks his revenge, he becomes fiendish and is constantly associated with diabolical feelings, images and actions. The use of the imagery reinforces the inhuman aspect of Heathcliff. He regrets saving the infant Hareton. Nelly recalled that his face bore the greatest pain at he being the instrument that thwarted his own revenge. He takes perverse pleasure in the fact that Hareton was born with a sensitive nature, which Heathcliff has corrupted and degraded. Heathcliff's pleasure at this corruption is increased by the fact that-: "Hareton is damnably fond of me". Heathcliff's cruelty is also evident when he hangs Isabella's dog despite her protestations. His attitude is devoid of fatherly feeling. He sees him only as a pawn in his revenge and his main
Novels often use the emotion of hate to create tension and distress in the plot. Wuthering Heights uses Heathcliff’s disdain for the other characters to add conflict to the story. Wuthering Heights examines the source of Heathcliff’s hate as well as its effects on the other characters throughout the story. Heathcliff’s relationships with other characters also suggests the universal theme that breeds hatred.
The novel of Wuthering Heights involves passion, romance, and turmoil but most significantly carries cruelty as an overarching theme. Cruelty is apparent throughout the work most importantly when dealing with relationships between Heathcliff and Hindley, Heathcliff and Hareton, and even the emotional cruelty between Heathcliff and Catherine.
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