The Development of Heathcliff’s Character in Wuthering Heights Essay

The Development of Heathcliff’s Character in Wuthering Heights Essay

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The Development of Heathcliff’s Character in Wuthering Heights


Heathcliff is a character who is ever present in “Wuthering Heights”
and throughout the novel his character changes. At first he is a poor,
homeless child, then he becomes a loved and neglected victim, then he
is a degraded lover, and finally he transforms into a vicious, lonely
master.

Heathcliff is introduced into the novel as a homeless child. He is a
‘“dirty, ragged, black-haired child”’ who Mr. Earnshaw brings to
Wuthering Heights from Liverpool. He is constantly referred to as ‘it’
and a ‘gypsy’. His wife, Mrs. Earnshaw, is furious that Heathcliff has
been brought into the house and the Earnshaws’ son, Hindley, is
jealous of the apparent love his father is giving Heathcliff. Hindley
therefore beats up and bullies Heathcliff throughout his childhood,
especially when he becomes master of the Heights when Mr. Earnshaw
dies: ‘…reminded him to order Heathcliff a flogging’.

This shows that Heathcliff has been transformed from a poor, homeless
child into a neglected victim. However, Mr. Earnshaw treats Heathcliff
with more love than his other children:

‘…and petting him up far above Cathy’

This shows that Heathcliff is loved by Mr. Earnshaw but also neglected
by Hindley and Mrs. Earnshaw. It is because of Mr. Earnshaw’s love for
Heathcliff that Hindley gets jealous and abuses him. However,
Heathcliff doesn’t really react to Hindley’s abuse, because he doesn’t
cry or complain and just gets up and carries on. However, he
manipulates Hindley into giving him Hindley’s horse:

‘“…if you wont I shall tell your father of the three thrashings you’ve
given me this week.

This shows that Heathcliff can be manipulative. After fighting with ...


... middle of paper ...


... a servant by Heathcliff. He
usually obeys him, but when small Cathy asks him to pick some flowers,
he does it. Heathcliff is angry by this: ‘“And who ordered you to obey
her?”’

This shows that Heathcliff is losing control. However, he also feels
he has won everything and has nothing left worth fighting for. He dies
soon after, drenching himself in the rain. However, he leaves an
exulting face:

‘…life-like gaze of exultation’.

This shows that Heathcliff has left thinking he has won. He has left
to be with Catherine, and the ghosts of them are spotted together,
finally:

“They’s Heathcliff and a woman, yonder”.

Heathcliff is a character in “Wuthering Heights” whose character has
altered tremendously and in turn altered so many others. This is due
both to the other characters either showing him love or showing him
hate and his own personality.

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