Heathcliff as Byronic Hero of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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Heathcliff as Byronic Hero of Wuthering Heights It is difficult if not impossible to find a character in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights that is 100% convincing as the hero -- until one applies the qualities of the Byronic hero. When considering Wuthering Heights Heathcliff immediately jumps to mind as the villainous character. Upon his return he wickedly orchestrates Hindley's economic demise and takes control of the Heights. He attempts to win Catherine, now a married woman, back and when that fails takes in marriage Isabelle Linton, Edgar's sister, with the sole intention of torturing her as a way of avenging himself on Edgar for marrying the woman he loved. When Hindley died Heathcliff took his son, Hareton, in order to treat him as cruelly as Hindley had treated Heathcliff, thus taking his revenge on Hindley. To further punish Edgar, Heathcliff kidnaps Cathy, forces her to marry his son, Linton, and in so doing gains possession of Thruschcross Grange and has the authority to treat Cathy as he desires. Heathcliff obviously has a nasty vengeful side but that makes his character perfect to bear the mantle of the Byronic hero. He rebels against the social order in his world by attempting to defy Hindley and associate with Catherine and later in his attempt to woo her from Edgar's arms and home and make her his own. He is very definitely self-destructive and cares for no one but himself and Catherine, which at times seem debatable. His passion in life is not life but to avenge himself upon everyone that has ever slighted him. He systematically destroys the lives of the people who hurt him but he refuses to stop there - insisting upon further punishing those individuals through... ... middle of paper ... ...nder the earth until he can join her in death so that he need not endure a single day without the knowledge of her close by. All of Heathcliff's actions sprung from his desire to be with Catherine. When he was denied this, primarily because of his social standing and background, he sets about to ruin the lives of those who assume they are better than he because of their position in society. Heathcliff cannot be categorized a villain but rather is dubbed Byronic Hero and to some extent, the victim of a spoiled manipulative brat. Works Cited Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman - Addison Wesley Longman, 2000. Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. Norton Critical ed. 3rd ed. Ed. William M. Sale, Jr., and Richard J. Dunn. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990.
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