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In which ways does Heathcliff deserve to be hated and in which ways does he deserve our sympathy?

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Wuthering Heights Task: In which ways does Heathcliff deserve to be hated and in which ways does he deserve our sympathy? Heathcliff is the man with a desire for revenge, which means we should hate him; or should we? In the novel Heathcliff does search for revenge in anyone who has done him harm, or in some cases punishes somebody else in order to seek revenge on others. This is just one of many reasons why you could indeed hate Heathcliff, but there is another side to him. At certain places in the novel you do sympathise with him, as at times what he is put through is very tough. Through out the novel there are many ways in which we could hate Heathcliff but also times where we could sympathise with him for his words and actions he takes. At the start of the novel Mr Earnshaw brings Heathcliff into the story. He is picked up by Mr Earnshaw on his trip to Liverpool and brings Heathcliff back with him. This is one of the first times we feel sympathy for Heathcliff. The description of him was, " A dirty, ragged, black-haired child." He's a lonely orphan who needs to be loved and this makes him seem like a poor little innocent child in some ways deceiving the reader. ...read more.


Whilst Catherine and Nelly are talking in the kitchen, Heathcliff overhears Catherine say, " It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now..." After hearing this Heathcliff leaves, before he got the chance to listen to what else Catherine was about to say. " ...so he shall never know how I love him: and that not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am." They are soul mates and Catherine knows this but would rather have the lifestyle and riches of Edgar. Her love for Heathcliff 'resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible light, but necessary'; whereas her love for Edgar 'is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it'. This is where you feel really sorry for Heathcliff in that not only did he not here this and left feeling that Catherine did not love him but that Catherine would rather have an upper class lifestyle than spend the rest of her days with her true love, her soul mate; Heathcliff. Heathcliff disappears for many years after this and when he returns, its almost as if you have been deceived by Emily Bronte as he is now not the lonely, helpless child you once felt sympathy for. He still wants to settle the score with Edgar and does this through other people as well as Edgar himself. ...read more.


Heathcliff dies soon after this and is finally with his loved one, his soul mate, Catherine. Overall, the theme of sympathy has a pattern throughout the book appearing and reappearing at certain key events. In the early chapters of the novel you feel a lot of sympathy towards Heathcliff, due to his bad childhood and mistreatment from his surrogate family. He's hurt from Catherine marrying Linton, but as soon as this lust for revenge emerges, your feeling of sympathy for him disappears. This is when the reader starts to hate and repel Heathcliff's character. After Catherine's death, his desire for revenge destroys all those around him as well himself in the end. Heathcliff is like a catalyst, in that he seems to change everyone around him. The reader looks upon his strong role throughout the novel in different ways. In the conclusion of the novel your hatred for him dies down. This is because you realise that all along all he really wanted was to be with Catherine, but as she hurts him along the way, his lust for revenge becomes too powerful. I believe that some of his actions he takes make us repel and hate him, but his past and poor childhood makes us as the readers sympathise with him. Once him and Catherine are both dead, they are reunited in the afterlife and although it's a very morbid event the sense of happiness is there and always will be. Lydia Millington ...read more.

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