Heathcliff Hero Or Villain Essay

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Heathcliff – Hero or Villain? 08/11/14 Heathcliff is the main character of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, and has come top of many polls regarding literature's most romantic hero. This says a lot about what women like - tortured, fanatical and brooding. But a question one is left wondering after reading the novel is whether Heathcliff is the hero or villain of the novel? I believe there is an argument for both sides, for Brontë designed him as a complex and thought-provoking character. Even from the outset of the novel, Heathcliff's arrival is seen as a direct danger to just about everyone, but mostly to Hindley. As Nelly says, "from the very beginning, [Heathcliff] bred bad feeling in the house”. Her words are suggestive, since there is much obsession…show more content…
He is described as a "gipsy," "wicked boy," "villain," and "imp of Satan." This ridicule when combined with his presumably beggar origin makes him a product of all of the abuse and neglect. Because he is different racially he will never be accepted by the Earnshaws or anyone else that Heathcliff meets in Yorkshire. The fact that Heathcliff is given the name of a son who died in childhood confirms his incompatibility with the Earnshaw’s. During his three-year disappearance, Heathcliff physically changes himself. He becomes no longer a beaten-down peasant worker and orphan, but a man who is “tall, athletic, well-formed” and can even match Edgar, for he is “quite slender and youth-like”. He seems to have lost his “former degradation”; and yet “half-civilised ferocity” lurks in his face. Much later in the story (although early on in Wuthering Heights), when Lockwood meets him, he is still the same colour, obviously, but now embodies the higher social status that he has gained over the last twenty-five years. Lockwood overtly comments on Heathcliff’s “singular contrast to his abode and style of living. Lockwood also says he is a “dark-skinned

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