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Character Analysis of Heathcliff In Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights

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Introduction

Character Analysis of Heathcliff In Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, the major character Heathcliff is a difficult to understand. He goes from a being an innocent victim to a self-centered, spiteful individual. He is determined to get revenge on many of the characters, which causes his characteristics, both good and bad, to show. Heathcliff is presented as an embodiment of dark powers. He is described by most characters as being evil or representing the devil. Edgar Linton describes him as a "most diabolical" man. His own son shrinks from him and Heathcliff exclaims, "You would imagine I was the devil himself - to excite such horror." (153) But Isabella Linton is the character that leaves the reader with the strongest impression that Heathcliff is devil-like. She writes a letter to Nelly telling of the conditions she is leaving under and the horrible way Heathcliff treats her. She says, "Is Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? If he is not, is he a devil?" ...read more.

Middle

And if you flatter yourself that I don't perceive it, you are a fool - and if you think I can be consoled by sweet words you are an idiot - and if you fancy I'll suffer unrevenged, I'll convince you of the contrary, in a very little while. (82) Even Linton, his own son is terribly abused by Heathcliff. To get back at Edgar again, he manipulates the younger Cathy, takes her prisoner at Wuthering Heights, and forces her to marry Linton so that someday Heathcliff will be the owner of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. He takes advantage of Hindley, who has both a drinking and a gambling problem. Heathcliff takes over ownership of Wuthering Heights as collateral for Hindley's gambling losses. He also mistreats Hareton, Hindley's son, in the same way he was mistreated. He teaches Hareton to curse and be disrespectful and also will not let the curate that has offered to educate Hareton do so. ...read more.

Conclusion

This changes him for the rest of his life, causing him to feel a great sense of betrayal and loss. Heathcliff's desire to see and embrace Catherine's corpse later on in the novel, shows the depth of his passion for her. He openly states that he wants to die so he can be with Catherine. He says: I have a single wish, and my whole being and faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it will be reached - and soon - because it has devoured my existence - I am swallowed in the anticipation of its fulfillment. (239) He wants to be buried with Catherine and he even punches a hole in her casket and asks that the same be done to his so that their dust can unite in death. Heathcliff is a character that some may relate, and one that some may not. In my opinion, he is probably the most important character in the novel because without him, the whole theme of revenge would not be there. He plays a vital role all of the characters' lives. ...read more.

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