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Wuthering Heights - Heathcliff - Villain or Romantic Hero?

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Introduction

Daniel Massias 11 GY "Wuthering Heights" Heathcliff-Villain or Romantic Hero? "Wuthering Heights" centres on the story of Heathcliff. The first paragraph provides a vivid physical picture of him, as Lockwood describes how his "black eyes" withdraw suspiciously under his brows at Lockwood's approach. Nelly's story begins with his introduction into the Earnshaw family. His vengeful desire to do evil and his love for Catherine drive the entire plot. Heathcliff, however, defies being understood and it is difficult for the reader to resist seeing what they want to see in him. By the name Heath-cliff it hints to the reader that he is empty like a heath or dangerous like a cliff. The house which he is brought to also gives the reader a picture of stormy bad weather. Bronte teases the reader with two sides to his character. One that his cruelty is only an expression of his frustrated love for Catherine and thus seen as a romantic hero. The other, a demon or a devil who is hungry for recognition, money and power and thus seen as a villain. ...read more.

Middle

His main aim was to gain control on Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and win back the hand of Catherine. Heathcliff began gambling with Hindley he caused him to become an addicted gambler and an alcoholic. He lost Wuthering Heights to Heathcliff and died a broken man after living on Heathcliffs' petty charity. Heathcliff decided to marry Isabella to get back at Edgar. He treated her like a slave in her own house and they did not even have marital relations. At one instance of insanity he hanged her pet dog on the gates of the Heights. His abuse of her was purely sadistic as he amused himself by seeing how much she could take and still come back for more. In a letter to Ellen she wrote, "Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? And if so is he mad? And if not is he a devil?" He drove her, a pregnant mother to be to the point of running away to find a new life in a new city. When Heathcliffs' son came back home after his mother had died he saw this not as an opportunity to regain his lost son but to gain control of the Grange. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heathcliff would see her face everywhere, "Catherine's face was just like the landscape". He even bribed a sexton to dig up he grave so that he could have one last glance at her. Finally when Heathcliff was about to die after afflicting himself in order to bring nearer the time that he would be with Catherine again he saw happiness "last night I was at the threshold of death, alone, I am within sight of my heaven. I have my eyes on it hardly three feet to sever me!" Bronte was very successful in combining two completely distinct characters into one man. As the reader has seen Heathcliff could either be seen as a romantic hero somewhat like Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" who at the end of the play took his own life to be with his love Juliet as he could not stand being alone in this world without her or as a tyrant who destroyed the lives and futures of two families. In my opinion I see Heathcliff as a villain he managed single handedly to win his way from nothing. Nevertheless happiness is restored at the end of the novel moral rightness is restored when Hareton and Cathy get married and the two house holds are left to rest in peace. ...read more.

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