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Consider How Emily Bronte Portrays Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights.

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Introduction

Consider How Emily Bronte Portrays Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights Cathy and Heathcliff are both curious characters, as is their relationship with each other and the way that Emily Bront� portrays them is vital to the plot. Unlike Cathy we know very little at all about Heathcliff's origins, which is exactly what Emily Bront� wanted. On a trip to Liverpool, Cathy's father Mr Earnshaw finds Heathcliff "starving, houseless and as good as dumb" and as no one on his travels lays claim to its' ownership he decides, being a benevolent soul, that he must take it home. To realise the significance of this we must take into account the historical context. At that time Liverpool was the major dock for the whole of the country with goods being imported and exported and ships and people arriving all the time. Any immigrants coming to Britain would arrive here and so there is little doubt that Heathcliff is not of English birth, as Nelly comments that he spoke "some gibberish that nobody could understand". He may have arrived from Ireland or Scotland as the language spoken there at this time was Gaelic. It has also been muted that he could actually have been black, and arrived from foreign climates, however these are purely assumptions none of which can be proved. Heathcliff is described by Mr Lockwood on his first visit to the heights as "a dark skinned gypsy in aspect". This links back to the fact that we have no idea of Heathcliff's past, so he could well be a gypsy, his origins are unknown which makes him mysterious and somewhat intriguing. ...read more.

Middle

She says "My love for Linton is like the foliage in the trees, time will change it I'm well aware as the winter changes the trees- my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath." In this way she infers that her love for Heathcliff is solid and time will never change it. This link to the natural world reinforces the idea that Cathy' s love for Heathcliff is a natural thing We can gain some insight into the revengeful nature of Heathcliff if we look at one of his conversations with Nelly in chapter six. "not if I might have the privilege of throwing Joseph off the highest gable or painting the housefront with Hindleys blood." This is a chilling speech because it is not said in a fit of temper or in heated row, as when a person might say "I'd like to kill you". It is far more cold and calculated, which makes it far less forgivable as he is not saying it on impulse but as if he given careful consideration as to how he would kill them. This is reinforced again in chapter seven when he says to Nelly, she is the person that he can confide in, "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait just so long as I can do it at last." This is more alarming even than the first speech and shows a truly evil side to Heathcliff's personality. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is also quite self obsessed, Nelly concludes this after seeing "how lightly she dismisses her old playmates troubles. I could not have imagined her to be so selfish." She therefore deems her to be an unfeeling child. Cathy does not improve as she grows up. Whilst married to Edgar Linton and living with him and his sister Isabella, she exclaims: "You are a dog in the manger Cathy and desire no one to be loved but yourself!" This is not entirely untrue, as Cathy loves to be the centre of attention and is not past sulking even at this age to get her own way. This is reflected by her foolish reaction when she says to Nelly after a fight in which Edgar has finally stood up to her, "I'll try to break their hearts by breaking their own". She demonstrates in this speech that she is no more than a spoilt girl, who craves love and adoration from all around her and will stop at nothing to get her own way. In some ways Cathy and Heathcliff are very similar. For instance in their ruthlessness to gain what they desire, and how they are both responsible for their own miseries whilst they blame them entirely on others. I believe that through these characters Emily Bronte wanted to portray love of a different type to that in other books published in this era. And the way she chooses to illustrate the characters, is I believe a challenge to the way that women were perceived in society at that time and to challenge commonly held attitudes and beliefs, towards love, trust and human nature. ...read more.

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