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Heathcliff has been described as both an archetypal romantic hero and an intrinsically evil villain - Explore the contradictory character of Heathcliff in “WutheringHeights”, with reference to these generic categories.

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Introduction

Heathcliff has been described as both an archetypal romantic hero and an intrinsically evil villain. Explore the contradictory character of Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights", with reference to these generic categories. "She abandoned them under a delusion" he said, "picturing in me a hero of romance and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion." Heathcliff is portrayed as a villain but at the same time, a romantic hero. It seems that he is double edged. He schemes to get Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, but he is not always so vengeful and rancorous. For example, when the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw came to the window, he wept for her and begged for her to come back. "Come in! Come in! Cathy do come. Oh do once more! Oh! My heart's darling! Hear me this time, Catherine at last!" in this he shows his hypersensitive side and emotional side. He begs Catherine to go to him and be with him forever. However, his vengeful side does get the better of him quite often and demonstrates him to be gothic, dark, evil and morose. "Though it's as dark, almost as if it came from the devil." This explains his gothic and dark approach. The evil and morose trait is unveiled with Hindley, where he swears revenge on him for all the grief and pain Hindley inflicted on Heathcliff. ...read more.

Middle

An intrinsically evil villain is one who is pure evil, 100% evil even. He or she will stomp and trample over anyone to get what he or she wants and will not stop until they get it. His actions and evil motives are essential to the plot because he is the most unpredictable person in the novel. What he does is so unpredictable, yet so obvious. This reading of Heathcliff is backed by his mistreatment of Isabella and Hareton, his scheming to get what he wants (namely Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange and Catherine) and his violence towards Hindley. "If you don't let me in, I'll kill you!" this evil quote was spoken by Heathcliff and aimed towards Isabella. This was when she locked him out in the cold, just like when Hindley made him sleep in the stables. We cannot however, deny the fact that we are secretly impressed with his cleverness, shown through his scheming and wickedness. We are impressed because we are all a tiny bit envious of him because of his cleverness and amazed at how he gets away with the scheming. Not only does he act a role of the villain but he also challenges the generic description of a romantic hero. He has no morals, his behaviour is devilish and demonic, his gothic and vampiric connotations and his sheer enjoyment of being with the dead. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is intrinsically evil and contradictory. He is also an archetypal romantic hero. He flouts the typical description of him as a romantic hero and swears he is not a romantic hero. He seems to be double edged and has an absolute determination to be with his one true love forever. He is a great believer in transcendent love and assumes he can push the boundaries and be with Catherine for as long as time. His connotations with the devil and death are clearly stated and he refuses to be classed as a hero. He fascinates yet repulses us. We seem to take his side no matter how awful and immoral his actions are. I think that Bront� challenged the Victorian critics because she wanted to change the way life was. Women were not allowed a say in anything that happened, and she felt that that wasn't fair. Personally, I don't think Heathcliff is a very approachable character. He is moody, self-centred, annoying, vile, hypocritical and malevolently malicious. He only cares about himself, even after 150 years he is problematically difficult to understand. "His black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under his brows" is a perfect description of the demonic, evil mortal he is; he denotes the demonic qualities of a flea. He is annoying, you wish he wasn't there; you purposefully avoid anything like him and certainly do not want to be another victim of his cruel, malicious, blood sucking nature. ...read more.

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