The Characters within Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights Essay

The Characters within Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights Essay

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Heathcliff has been called numerous names as a character; Villain, human, Byronic hero, and even being compared back to Shakespeare, but not one critic seems to be able to agree on the real identity of Heathcliff. Critics have been unable to call him a specific type of character because Emily Bronte created such a complex being that he is not just one type of character, he was made into his own type altogether.
From Bernard J. Paris’s point of view on Heathcliff , like many other critics, is that Heathcliff is a human being, but “is not supposed to be understood as though he were a person” (Paris). As Paris goes on to point out, it is not only the critics who do not understand what kind of being Heathcliff is supposed to be, but Isabella is confused on if “Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?”(Ch. 13). Paris’s argument of Heathcliff being human but misunderstood comes from the belief that his character falls under Gothic Romance. Heathcliff stands as the archetype, symbol, and projection of a being that is human but not understood as human. The reader can first see the Gothic character Heathcliff can portray through his back-story. As the reader learns Heathcliff’s learns his background of being tortured, worked like a servant, and been victimized they learn his viciousness ascends from his misery of a childhood. Learning of his ill-childhood leads critics to believe that he is human and his life dealings made him into the cruel creature he becomes, but as Paris points out “abuse quickly generates powerful vindictive impulses” into Heathcliff. The evil Heathcliff comes to obtain is more than just a boy whose abuse becomes revenge, he turns into a villain whose pain comes from abuse, but revenge co...


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...y nor a Macbeth who consciously chooses evil because of his overpowering ambition, but rather a Hamlet without Hamlet’s fatal irresolution”(Watson). Heathcliff is not like Iago because Iago was born with evil. In Othello, when Iago evil and seeking revenge is comes very naturally. Iago has evil within hum, whereas Heathcliff gains evil as he grows up, it was not natural for him. Heathcliff is also not like Macbeth who choses evil because of wanting to go further in life, but is like Hamlet because his evil grows from events in his life. Hamlet becomes evil from his father’s death, while Heathcliff becomes evil through the way he was treated after he went with Mr. Earnshaw, both having evil grow in them through their life events. Watson was correct in his explanation that Heathcliff is like Hamlet because they both grow into being Evil, not born with it.






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