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Is the Tragedy in Return of the Native and Wuthering Heights due to the author's presentation of the characters or social influences?

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Introduction

Is the Tragedy in Return of the Native and Wuthering Heights due to the author's presentation of the characters or social influences? The Return of the Native and Wuthering Heights are both novels that are centred around the theme of tragedy. The plots in both books involve mainly tragic characters and their downtrodden outcomes. The tragic storylines seem to be due to social influences rather than the way in which the authors present their characters. For example Cathy's undesired love for servant boy Heathcliff or Mrs Yeobright's family pride. An example of tragedy in Return of the Native is the death of Mrs Yeobright who dies from exhaustion when crossing the heath to settle an argument with her son Clym. This death could have been prevented if Eustacia had opened the door to Mrs Yeobright. The tragic death of Mrs Yeobright can be seen from two different view points. Some may say that the social influences caused the tragedy due to the fact that Eustacia was unable to open the door to Mrs Yeobright because Wildeve was in the house with her. In the 19th century when the book was written it would have been extremely frowned upon for a women to be alone with another man who wasn't their husband. ...read more.

Middle

Heathcliff is treated and seen as a servant in the Earnshaw household and Catherine is the lady of the house. In the Victorian times it would have seen to be wrong to marry a servant and Egdar would serve as a more suitable husband as he is wealthy. It is significant that Heathcliff begins his life as a homeless orphan on the streets of Liverpool. When Bront� composed her book, in the 1840s, the English economy was severely depressed, and the conditions of the factory workers in industrial areas like Liverpool were so appalling that the upper and middle classes feared violent revolt. Thus, many of the more affluent members of society beheld these workers with a mixture of sympathy and fear. In literature, the smoky, threatening, miserable factory-towns were often represented in religious terms, and compared to hell. The poet William Blake, writing near the turn of the nineteenth century, speaks of England's "dark Satanic Mills." Heathcliff, of course, is frequently compared to a demon by the other characters in the book. Considering this historical context, Heathcliff seems to embody the anxieties that the book's upper- and middle-class audience had about the working classes. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, she is also motivated by impulses that prompt her to violate social conventions-to love Heathcliff, throw temper tantrums, and run around on the moor. Her cruel character also causes her to treat Heathcliff bad in some parts and act as though she is far too superior to marry him. For example when she returns home from the Linton's and belittles Heathcliff. In conclusion although social influences do affect the plot of both novels it is at the end of the day the cause of the authors' presentation of the characters' personalities and actions. The uptight Victorian society had high standards when it came to social class and the proper way for a lady to act. This may be the cause of Catherine's choice of marriage or Eustacia not opening the door to Mrs Yeobright when she had another man in the house. However both Hardy and Bronte present Eustacia and Catherine as both strong and 'wild' women who often rebel against society but eventually have to conform to fit in with the times. In my opinion both authors use the characters in their novels to represent the constraints of the 19th century. ?? ?? ?? ?? Amy Dunne ...read more.

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