In the novel Wuthering Heights, author Emily Brontë portrays the morally ambiguous character of Heathcliff through his neglected upbringing, cruel motives, and vengeful actions.
Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights, set in the countryside of England’s 1700’s, features a character named Heathcliff, who is brought into the Earnshaw family as a young boy and quickly falls into a passionate, blinding romance with the Earnshaw’s daughter, Catherine. However, Heathcliff is soon crushed by this affection when his beloved chooses the company of another man rather than his own. For the remainder of the novel he exudes a harsh, aversive attitude that remains perduring until his demise that is induced by the loss of his soulmate, and in turn the bereavement of the person to whom the entirety of his being and his very own self were bound.
The distinct disparity between the poor and rich “twists” the society and oppresses people’s liberty. According to a Marxian view, indeed, the coolness of society has the ability to transform one into a beast. Undeniably, Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights illustrates how Mr. Earnshaw brought young Heathcliff back to live with him at Wuthering Heights, where Heathcliff meets Catherine and Hindley. As Catherine and Heathcliff slowly developed a sense of affection towards each other, yet, Hindley shows his strong dislike towards Heathcliff. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley forbids Catherine and Heathcliff to have any contact. He will often humiliate and abuse Heathcliff to satisfy his own frustrations. Catherine encounters Edgar Linton a wealthy,
A multitude of feelings and sentiments can move a man to action, but in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, love and revenge are the only two passions powerful enough to compel the primary actors. There is consensus, in the academic community,1 that the primary antagonist in the novel, Heathcliff is largely motivated by a wanton lust for vengeance, and it is obvious from even a cursory reading that Edgar Linton, one of the protagonists, is mostly compelled by a his seemingly endless love for his wife, and it even seems as if this is reflected in the very nature of the characters themselves. For example, Heathcliff is described as “Black-eye[d]” [Brontë,1], “Dark skinned” [Brontë, 3] and a “dirty boy” [Brontë, 32]; obviously, black has sinister connotations, and darkness or uncleanliness in relation to the soul is a common metaphor for evil. On the converse, Edgar Linton is described as blue eyed with a perfect forehead [Brontë, 34] and “soft featured… [with] a figure almost too graceful” [Brontë, 40], which has almost angelic connotations. When these features and the actions of their possessors are taken into account, it becomes clear that Edgar and Heathcliff are not merely motivated by love and revenge as most academics suggest, but rather these two men were intended by Brontë to be love and hate incarnate.
Emily Bronte’s, Wuthering Heights, includes the struggle for happiness, like marry like, and revenge. Heathcliff grew up neglected and abused. When he fell in love with his long time friend, Catherine Earnshaw, she betrayed him by choosing another man over him, causing Heathcliff to become bitter and rude to everyone who comes in contact with him. He goes out of his way to make everyone miserable and unhappy just like himself. Although the perspective of Heathcliff is seen as “a mad man,” he is actually suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Depression.
“Catherine 's incompletely heard confession of her devotion to Heathcliff precipitates his exile, which hardens him into a machine organized for revenge. Although Heathcliff dominates the action of Wuthering Heights, and the imagination of its author and its other characters, Catherine more clearly exemplifies what the two of them stand for.” (Spacks 1)
Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights can be considered a Gothic romance or an essay on the human relationship. The reader may regard the novel as a serious study of human problems such as love and hate, or revenge and jealousy. One may even consider the novel Bronte's personal interpretation of the universe. However, when all is said and done, Heathcliff and Catherine are the story. Their powerful presence permeates throughout the novel, as well as their complex personalities. Their climatic feelings towards each other and often selfish behavior often exaggerates or possibly encapsulates certain universal psychological truths humans are too afraid to express. Heathcliff and Catherine's stark backgrounds evolve respectively into dark personalities and mistaken life paths, but in the end their actions determine the course of their own relationships and lives. Their misfortunes, recklessness, willpower, and destructive passion are unable to penetrate the eternal love they share.
In the book Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Hindley and Heathcliff share resentment for one another. Since Heatmhcliff became a part of his family at a young age, Hindley has been strongly jealous of him. With Heathcliff gaining Mr. Earnshaw’s (Hindley’s father) appreciation over Hindley, this caused tension to be built up by the bitterness and hatred. Heathcliff, having his adopted father’s appreciation, had power over Hindley and would constantly extort him or even threaten him. But, the strained relations between Heathcliff and Hindley causes them to be very violent natured in the future, being physically and verbally abusive. As they grow older and their resentment for one other starts to increase, Heathcliff and Hindley come to be violent and abusive not just in regards to each other but to the other main characters in addition.
By presenting the ill-fated, all-encompassing love constricted by society between Heathcliff and Catherine, Bronte manages to convey that it is important to value human emotion, love and freedom over society. Choosing to value superficial and materialistic aspects of life over the natural, emotional aspects can result in living an empty and meaningless life. If one allows for the pressures of society to consume them, the result can be dehumanizing and destructive to the soul.
Wuthering Heights is not just a love story, it is a window into the human soul, where one sees the loss, suffering, self discovery, and triumph of the characters in this novel. Both the Image of the Book by Robert McKibben, and Control of Sympathy in Wuthering Heights by John Hagan, strive to prove that neither Catherine nor Heathcliff are to blame for their wrong doings. Catherine and Heathcliff’s passionate nature, intolerable frustration, and overwhelming loss have ruined them, and thus stripped them of their humanities.