Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff character analysis

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25 September 2012Essay : HeathcliffJessica van den Brink

Heathcliff Character Analysis

Heathcliff is best seen as a child of the storm

A storm is often described as wild and unforgiving, a destructive force of nature that cannot be predicted and leaves chaos and disarray in its wake. Often times a storm is associated with tragedy and pain because of its destructiveness. All of these features are characteristic of Heathcliff’s own personality. He is a very complex character made up of numerous layers that each impact the reader’s perception of him, whether it is in a positive or negative manner.

When Heathcliff is introduced at Wuthering Heights, his appearance and manner is described to the reader by Nelly. Here, and in many occasions afterwards, Heathcliff is described to be a dark-skinned gypsy boy, giving the impression he is a wild, untamed creature. He is said to speak some gibberish that cannot be understood, showing either that he is uneducated or that he speaks a language that is foreign to the residents of Wuthering Heights. References to his affinity for nature and animals are made in the novel when he is tasked with taking care of the horses in the stables at Wuthering Heights. Further emphasis is placed on this aspect of his character when we learn that Heathcliff and Cathy spend a lot of time away from the grounds of the house and enjoy being out in the fields together.

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Upon Heathcliff’s arrival at Wuthering Heights it is clear that he brings trouble and his presence is rather ominous. On many occasions in the novel his presence also acts as an indication that something bad is about to happen. This further likens Heathcliff to a storm as a storm is also often a symbol of foreboding and trouble, both of which can be easily perceived in Heathcliff, even more so after his return to Wuthering Heights following his long absence, when his whereabouts were unknown to all members of the story. His absence here adds on to his character as ...

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