point of view about his character?
The first indication of Heathcliff's savage personality is found in
the opening chapter when the dogs - "A brood of tigers", "fiends" are
represented and Heathcliff growls in unison with them. He informs
Lockwood that the bitch is not kept for a pet. Catherine's diary
provides a clue to the cause of Heathcliff's savagery and hatred,
"Poor Heathcliff! Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit
with us and eat with us anymore... and swears that he will reduce him
to his right place". Mr. Earnshaw first describes him thus - "though
its as dark almost as if it came from the devil".
Heathcliff's dominant personality quickly becomes evident - "You must
exchange horses with me, I don't like mine". This incident
demonstrates the extent to which Heathcliff has already been hardened
and brutalised. The ragged new-comer to Wuthering Heights is an image
of a human creature reduced to its bare animal essence, the naked will
to live. Nelly's comments about Heathcliff's ability to withstand pain
supports this point of view, "He would withstand Hindley's blows
without winking or shedding a tear". Heathcliff's dominant will was
being fed by Mr. Earnshaw's favouritism, when he dies this changes,
Heathcliff then suffers the tyranny of Hindley. From this point on,
the revenge theme begins in the novel. Heathcliff's recollection of
the Grange in Chapter 6 is tied this first inkling of revenge, "If I
might have the privilege of flinging Joseph off the highest gale and
painting the housefront with Hindley's blood".
Heathcliff's language at the Grange, indicated a malevolent attitude,
"I've vociferated curses eno...
... middle of paper ...
... is described in demonic
terms, "sharp cannibal, teeth, basilisk eyes". Now with victory over
Hindley achieved and Edgar retreated in sorrow, the violent aspect of
revenge gives way to patience and legalistic guile. To complete his
revenge over the Lintons, Heathcliff employs these latter tactics -
the marriage between Linton and Catherine is patiently contrived. The
question of succession, shrewdly investigated, his guardianship over
his son, the decisive cotosill to the inheritance of the Grange.
Heathcliff's final thirst for revenge is quenched however by his
failure to remain passionate. In the final chapters of the novel, he
is torn between two competing passions, that for revenge and that for
sympathy and fondness for Hareton. Finally he possesses no ability to
prevent the future happiness of the younger generation and deprived of
his passion, dies.
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