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

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"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.

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