Heathcliff: From A Noble Savage To A Brutish Monster

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The characters in this book are diverse, compelling, and complicated, notably Heathcliff. Numerous research papers have been produced that attempt to analyse Heathcliff’s character from a variety of viewpoints, including psychological, sociological, and racial. All of these studies seek to understand why Heathcliff was treated so poorly as a child and ultimately chose to become so apathetic and spiteful.

The novel Wuthering Heights has been extensively debated and studied. It was seen as coarse and repulsive when it was originally published, but it is now regarded as a great classic of English literature.

The novel was released at a time when many writers were exploring the tension between culture and environment. These authors created works that illustrated how society’s corrupting influence affects those having good intentions.

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It is hard to deny that Heathcliff is a darkly romantic hero. He reminds me of a Byronic hero in his heroic qualities. There are no words to describe his feral combination of intelligence, hyperactivity, and anger. From his initial appearance at Wuthering Heights till his death, the book narrates his story. He is mistreated by his foster brother, Hindley, and he develops feelings for Catherine. But she prefers Edgar because of his social standing and breeding, and Heathcliff vows to avenge his maltreatment and betrayal by Cathernine on Hindley, Edgar, and the child of Edgar and Hindley.

Heathcliff transformation from innocent lover to a savage avenger

Mr. Earnshaw’s foster son, Heathcliff, is the novel’s anti-hero. In the streets of Liverpool, he is found by his foster-father, who is impressed by his innocence and brings him back to his home. Heathcliff and Hindley’s disagreement stems from the fact that Mr.Earnshaw loves Heathcliff so much.

After growing up with his father, Hindley develops a great dislike for the outsider who lacks both social rank and racial roots. He is also mistreated because of his close relationship with his father. As an innocent child, Heathcliff goes through a series of tribulations until Mr.Earnshaw accepted him as his son.

Heathcliff
Heathcliff and Cathy

He falls in love with Catherine on a deeper level than he ever imagined. He cares more for Catherine than anything else in the world. Catherine betrays him by marrying the more sophisticated Edgar. Similarly, Hindley becomes more ferociuos in his mistreatment of Heathcliff after their father’s death. These events have profound impact on Heathcliff.

He transforms into a violent brute that abuses, mistreats, and manipulates everyone around him. Despite his cruel actions, he is given sympathy because he is an orphan who was maltreated as a youngster and loses Catherine, the only person in the world who truly cares to him.

His love for Catherine, whom he loves ardently, fervently, and deeply, and Hindley’s harassment of him following the death of their father are the two things that changed him from an innocent child to a domineering devil.

He begins to feel resentment. He tinkers with his terrible feelings. Despite this, readers are moved to feel sympathy for him because underlying all the brutality is a romantic hero who is looking for his true love who abandoned him. It seems like he is using his brutality to mask his true feelings for Catherine at various points in the book. Readers are moved by his suffering and feel for him. However, we cannot deny that he has actually developed into a sadist who delights in oppressing, controlling, and manipulating those around him.

Catherine’s betrayal

Catherine recognises Heathcliff’s innocence in the face of his brother’s hate. They quickly become best friends for life. They make a commitment to live their entire lives as naive savages while playing in the moors’ wildness. Once Catherine spends time with the Lintons, their connection is put to the test.

She spends the next five weeks with them and learns to be more sophisticated and polite. Despite being just twelve, she starts acting more ladylike. Heathcliff detests this the most because she must give up her wildness in order to become civilised.

Heathcliff seems dishevelled and sullen to her when they first meet after her five weeks stay at Lintons. She used to be content with Heathcliff, but her perspective has since shifted. She is unable to remain civilised and continue her romance with Heathcliff at the same time. She must choose between Heathcliff and Edgar and she chooses the later.

She eventually weds Edgar Linton despite her feelings for Heathcliff. Heathcliff leaves for three years because of this betrayal.. He vanishes and reemerges as a gentleman. He embarks on a course of revenge after finding out about the marriage. The only person he ever loved abandoned and betrayed him and he cannot tolerate this.

The revenge spree

When Heathcliff returns, he appears to have matured and become civilised, but on the inside, he is burning with the fire of revenge.

“A half civilised ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and the eyes full of black fire.”

After a three-year absence, Heathcliff makes a promise to exact revenge on Hindley for all the abuse he endured as a boy and on Edgar for stealing his love. Hindley is a gambler and an alcoholic who owes a lot of money. Heathcliff seizes control of Wuthering Heights by taking advantage of his drinking and gambling problems. Heathcliff raises his son Hareton after Hindley dies, not to make him a good person but torment him so he may get revenge on his father.

Heathcliff
Heathcliff and Cathy

He marries Isabella to exact revenge on Edgar. He orchestrates the union of his son and Cathy. He coerces his kid into approaching Cathy. To make Cathy marry his ailing son, he even imprisons her. Heathcliff keeps the young Cathy at his house and mistreats her even after his son dies.

Heathcliff give up revenge in the end

Heathcliff turns into the devil as a result of Catherine’s betrayal and his childhood tragedy in Wuthering Heights. He does, however, evolve toward the book’s conclusion. He returns to being a good man. For instance, he becomes so furious during a quarrel with Cathy that he wants to punish her by tearing her to pieces but refrains from actually doing so. He forbids himself from acting violently. This behaviour reveals his new character.

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After the death of his initial tormentors, he likely concludes that hurting innocent children serves no purpose. He identifies with Hareton. Hareton shares a comparable experience with young Heathcliff due to the fact that they are both deteriorated as a result of being uninformed and abused. Heathcliff probably does not wish for Hareton to experience the same miserable existence as he has. Because he changes in the end, he does not put an end to Cathy and Hareton’s relationship.


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