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Wuthering Heights

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Introduction

Heathcliff - Wuthering Heights Essay The readers of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights have different views of the character of Heathcliff. His state of mind changes throughout the novel and his personality takes a dramatic alteration during Volume I. This essay will look at the character of the misanthropist, Heathcliff, and how the readers view him at different stages in the book. In chapter 1 of Wuthering Heights, the character Lockwood meets Heathcliff. Straight away Lockwood has an instant opinion of Heathcliff. Lockwood describes Heathcliff as quite abrupt in his manner of speaking. His tone of voice is described as a 'genuine bad nature'. The reader, at this point, doesn't like Heathcliff too much. He is seen as rude and aggressive. The reader views him as unfriendly, brooding character. Lockwood also says that the house looked like it belonged to 'a homely, northern farmer'. This image is Lockwood's stereotypical view of Heathcliff. Heathcliff's appearance is also spoken about. Lockwood calls him a 'dark-skinned gypsy'. This term would suggest that Heathcliff is an outsider, some one who has no friends and is left out of everything. However, he is also said to have an 'erect and handsome figure'. The personal appearance of Heathcliff contradicts with his personality. Heathcliff is a character of many contradictions. By the end of chapter one, the reader sees Heathcliff as a cruel and vulgar character. In chapter 3, Lockwood reads part of Catherine's diary. From it he finds out about the traumatic childhood Heathcliff experienced, and his stepbrother, Hindley, had treated him badly. I can see this from a quote that Catherine says, "Poor Heathcliff! Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit with us, nor eat with us". These are harsh actions from Hindley, as Heathcliff is cast aside as a loner. The term vagabond refers to the tramp status that Heathcliff has attained. By the end of this chapter, the reader has slightly changed their view of Heathcliff. ...read more.

Middle

Bronte has been clever in creating the character of Heathcliff in volume 1.He is vicious, yet he is still more popular with readers than the dour Edgar or the delusional Isabella. Heathcliff and his actions can horrify the reader, yet thy still want for him to get his revenge. Heathcliff is a gripping character that can get away with anything, as the reader will always come back for more. In volume II, there is a lot of tension between the Catherine and Heathcliff due to their unfulfilled love for one another. This atmosphere that Bronte creates leads to a sense of pathos surrounding Heathcliff, who is tortured by his love for Catherine, yet knowing he can never have her. Heathcliff has trouble to forgive Catherine for what she has done to herself and to him, but Catherine tells Heathcliff, 'You have killed me - and thriven on it'. Catherine blames Heathcliff and Edgar for killing her; she says it was them that drove her to this. However Heathcliff replies to this 'You know you lie to say I have killed you'. Heathcliff's love for Catherine can be seen as destructive. This chapter provides the reader with the emotional climax of the novel. The chapter presents passion, yet it is also melodramatic. However, the main feeling is pathos, as Heathcliff resents Catherine for what she has done. Soon after, Catherine dies. At the time when Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights, women were meant to be compliant and obedient towards there husbands, so when Isabella runs away from the Heights and away from Heathcliff, in chapter 3, this shows that Isabella must have had a horrendous time with Heathcliff, as she has gone against what was morally right in that time period. Bronte presents this act of outrageous behaviour as an act of self-preservation. When talking to Nelly, Isabella describes Heathcliff as 'devilish'. This is a very strong word in Bronte's time as it relates to hell and religion, which was highly believed. She also says 'Monster! ...read more.

Conclusion

He than finishes what he is saying with a strong sentence 'The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her'. This is quite a sad image, as after everything Heathcliff has been through and every thing that he has done, he still finds it hard to forget his one true love, and how they could never be together. This is a heart-breaking moment for Heathcliff, and the reader can fell sympathetic towards him. Heathcliff considers death to be a release from his emotional torment. This could be a reason for his vindictive behaviour. His desire for vengeance could be a means to focus his mind on a corporeal earthly target. In the last chapter of the book, Nelly finishes her narrative by describing Heathcliff's last moments before he dies. Bronte produces quite a calm and soothing atmosphere, yet Heathcliff is still able to be cruel. He calls Cathy, 'the other'. Heathcliff may have become weaker and unable to plot against people, but he still carries his mean-hearted spirit. Eventually Heathcliff dies. When Nelly finds him, she says 'His eyes met mine so keen, and fierce, I started'. Even when Heathcliff is dead, he still has a determined look about him. To conclude, Bronte presents Heathcliff as a powerful, yet evil man. Through volume one, the reader will feel sympathy for Heathcliff at some stages in the book. However, this feeling of pathos decreases through volume two and there are fewer stages where the reader does feel sorry for him. Bronte's character of Heathcliff progresses a lot in the novel. He becomes, to an extent, heartless. Bronte has been clever in creating Heathcliff, because, although he is violent and malicious, he is still the most popular character in the novel. Heathcliff and his actions can horrify the reader; yet still leave them wanting him to get revenge. Heathcliff is a gripping character that can get away with anything in the reader's eyes, as the reader will always come back for more. David Curnick 10c 1 David Curnick 10c ...read more.

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