• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How is heathcliff protrayed like in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights?

Extracts from this document...


"How is heathcliff protrayed like in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights?" 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 story, in the words of Nelly, is "a cuckoo's story", Heathcliff is the usurper. 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. Nelly recorded "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 friend". Such is the extent of Heathcliff's usurpation, that Hindley is sent off to boarding school. As an adult, Heathcliff repeats the process, as he usurps the affections of Hareton and takes pride in the fact that he would be defended by the son in a fight with the father. Ultimately, Heathcliff parallels the cuckoo in taking over ownership of the Heights, thereby dispossessing the rightful heir, Hareton. Heathcliff destroys the natural familial emotional bonds which previously existed in the Earnshaw household. His presence results in a polarisation within the family, at first Mr. ...read more.


At no point in the novel can we doubt Heathcliff's eternal faithfulness to Catherine. His love survives her rejection of him-: "It would degrade me to marry Mr. Heathcliff" and despite her marriage to Edgar, Heathcliff's love for her continues undaunted. Heathcliff suffers much emotional rejection, but at no point does he waiver in his loyalty to her-: "I seek no revenge on you...the tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don't turn against him, they crush those beneath them" His genuine concern for Catherine prevents him from exacting direct revenge from Edgar. He says to Catherine-: "I would of died by witches before I would have touched a single hair of his head." When hearing of Catherine's illness, he exclaims-: "Existence after loosing her would be hell" In this statement, we can see the extent of Heathcliff's dedication and loyalty to Catherine and the sense of desolation her death would bring to him. At times in the novel, Heathcliff is portrayed as a tormented spirit. After the death of Catherine, Heathcliff's lust for love is gone. His existence is then focused totally on exacting revenge. As his death approaches, he confesses to Nelly the extent of Catherine's hold over him, though she's now been dead 18 years-: "I cannot look down into the floor, her features are shaped in the flags...in every cloud, in every tree." The degree in which Heathcliff is tormented by Catherine is reflected when he said-: "Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy?...you love me, what right had you to leave me?" ...read more.


Part of Heathcliff's survival mechanism during the period that he is being terrorised by Hindley, is the thought and prospect of revenge, he is determined to have is own back and confesses to Nelly-: "I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last, I hope he will not die before I do". As Heathcliff approaches death and a reunion of Catherine, his resolve for revenge weakens until he no longer has an interest in that former preoccupation-: "I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction". This dousing of the flames of Heathcliff's revenge is a catalyst not just in the novel but in the histories of the Earnshaw and Linton families. Hareton and Cathy are spared, the sense of evil visited upon them by Heathcliff is removed and there occurs a spiritual renaissance within Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is a many faced character, in his early years he is characterised somewhat by his fiery temper, his sulleness, his proud nature, his fierce attachment to Catherine, his spitefulness and his capacity for hatred. The adult Heathcliff, who returns to Wuthering Heights after a three year absence, is a super-human villain driven by revenge, distorted by the sense of the wrongs done to him and made emotionally unstable by Catherine's marriage. This later Heathcliff is characterised by callousness by an incapacity to love and eventually by an all consuming passion for revenge against those who have wronged him and for unification with his beloved Catherine. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Emily Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Emily Bronte essays

  1. How does Bronte use natural setting and imagery in ‘Wuthering Heights’?

    Instead, the setting has greatly changed. 'Under that benign sky...among the heath and the harebells...soft wind breathing through the grass.' We can see that the tyranny and wretched lifestyle lived under Heathcliff has been abolished for Hareton and Cathy. Their love and hope for the future is reflected in the natural setting.

  2. Explore how love survives great obstacles in the novels 'Wuthering Heights ' and 'Captain ...

    wanting to run free with Heathcliff has given Catherine a 'double character' proving great difficulty and Heathcliff great pain '"Well I cried last night.." Catherine and Heathcliff are so alike and spiritually bonded she sees herself as Heathcliff and all that he is, 'I am Heathcliff...'.

  1. To what extent do we feel sympathy towards the character of Heathcliff?

    The first thing she saw me do, on coming out of the Grange, was to hang up her little dog; and when she pleaded for it, the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her.'

  2. Wuthering Heights - To What Extent Can Heathcliff Be Described As a Traditional Villain?

    Another spiteful act of Heathcliff's is when he locks Nelly up in a room for four days and three nights. However he does check up on her. Heathcliff just cares about himself, and to get revenge on those that abused him and those who were in love with Catherine.

  1. Heathcliff has been described as both an archetypal romantic hero and an intrinsically evil ...

    They could not work. They had to sit at home all day and sew or serve. Bront� didn't like that, so she wrote a novel that would make the reader see reality and hopefully change the way women lived. To publish the novel however, she used a pseudonym. She used the pseudonym 'Ellis Bell'.

  2. Wuthering heights, Jane Eyre & Pride and Prejudice

    Which role is worse for the individual is arguable, but it can be assumed that either person would most likely be rather unhappy in such an arranged marriage. The man, who had known nothing of the woman except her looks and lineage, would most likely grow tired and resentful of his wife.

  1. Discuss the portrayal of Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw in 'WutheringHeights'. Are they products of ...

    Catherine and Heathcliff were very much in love, but she married somebody else even though their connection was so meaningful. It is almost possible that Heathcliff could have been the source of this quote: if we look at this from Heathcliff's point of view, he gave Catherine his heart, and

  2. Is Heathcliff a monster, or just misunderstood?

    It is a moral teething; and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain." That pretty much sums up his attitude ? and he's talking about his wife! He treats his son, Linton, no better. Linton's sickly demure is a contrast to his father's strong and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work