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In the light of the events within the novel, do you think Heathcliff is a fiend from hell or a victim of social prejudice?

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Introduction

Laura Kennie Question 3. In the light of the events within the novel, do you think Heathcliff id a fiend from hell or a victim of social prejudice? To understand the social prejudice of the novel's time we have to think of the time that Emily Bront� grew up in. It was a very class-structured era and higher-class people would not associate with lower-class people. So it is astonishing that Mr Earnshaw took Heathcliff in at all. He was in a well-respected social class and he took in a beggar off the streets. The first time we see Heathcliff is in chapter four. He is automatically an outsider from his appearance. Also because he has no family history and no one knows his origins, he therefore has no social status. Later on in the novel, Hindley uses social prejudice and his class status in Wuthering Heights to degrade Heathcliff to a servant. This gives him a motive for revenge later on in the novel. Additionally, Catherine says in chapter nine that it would not do well for her to marry him. ...read more.

Middle

Also, considering that this prejudice came from someone he loves, it hurts Heathcliff. Heathcliff's social prejudice against him gives reasons for him to seek revenge on Hindley and Edgar, but to a lesser extent. In my opinion, social prejudice is the main reason for most of the violence Heathcliff puts upon the other characters. This is because he has never been given unconditional love from anyone. Even Catherine betrays him by marrying Edgar. In my opinion, Heathcliff believes that it should not matter to her weather he is rich or not. The emotional and surreal attachment between them would extend beyond the dominant ideology of the early nineteenth century. Later on in the book, Heathcliff and Hindley have a savage fight. Mainly about money issues, but also Heathcliff wants his revenge on Hindley for degrading him as a child. Also, Heathcliff was abusive to Edgar and Edgar responds by hitting Heathcliff. Another way in which social prejudice could be explained for in this novel, is the way in which nearly every character has a contrast. Heathcliff is very tall, dark, savage and passionate. ...read more.

Conclusion

But he has been exposed to that kind of harshness. As a matter of fact, I think that Heathcliff is more of a hellish fiend than a victim. The social prejudice he experiences happens mainly in his childhood, he has no control over his social status then. However he does when he grows up. Except, I think he chooses not to. The torment he went through as a child has effected him in adulthood. The main extract that makes this apparent to me, besides the fact that he has been referred to as the "devil" and "imp of Satan", is in chapter sixteen after Catherine's death. Heathcliff has dashed his head against an ash tree repeatedly through the night. In a way this could be referenced to the death of Judas Iscariot. He hanged himself on an ash tree after his betrayal of Jesus. In the author's description, Heathcliff wants to feel at home in hell. Since he and Catherine share a soul and she has been described as heavenly and angelic manner, it would be as his soul is in heaven and he does not want that. So, Heathcliff calls upon Cathy's ghost to haunt him. "May you not rest as long as I am living...haunt me, then!" ...read more.

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