What is a traditional hero? In many works of literature, the author portrays a character that is faced with many difficult obstacles, in which the character often prevails and becomes a hero. The challenges, which the character undergoes, allows the reader to appreciate the character due to their bravery, courage, and their willingness to sacrifice. In Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, many readers are able to view Heathcliff as a hero, but how?
Heathcliff is not a traditional hero. In fact, the term Byronic hero, would fit Heathcliff’s description in every aspect. Now, what are the characteristics of a Byronic hero? In order to be classified as a Byronic hero, the character needs to display: a high level of intelligence, a troubled past, emotional conflicts, a disliking of social restraints or rules, the status of a social outcast, dark attributes, a taste for vengeance, but most importantly, with all of the negative attributes, the character has the ability to show strong affection for another. These traits are the outline to the plot of Wuthering Heights.
Heathcliff resides in the country of Yorkshire, where his estate, Wuthering Heights, is “completely removed from the stir of society”(Brontë, 1). Heathcliff enjoys solitude and “guests are so exceedingly rare in this house”(6), and becomes irritated when guests do visit, wishing “no repetition of my intrusion”(7). Heathcliff acquires the dark attributes in the novel as if “a ray fell on his features”(101), stating at the beginning, Heathcliff came from a poverty-stricken country of Liverpool as a “wicked boy”(53) with “black eyes”(1), “black hair”(38), and being “dirty”(38). With Heathcliff coming from a different nationality, his childhood was uneasy. Hindley, Heathcliff’s stepbrother, adds fuel to the flame of Heathcliff’s troubled past. Hindley feels he needs to fight for his father’s affection which leads to Hindley picking on Heathcliff. Hindley refers to Heathcliff as a “gipsy”(41) after throwing an iron weight at him and striking him in the chest. Heathcliff even loses the love of his life, Catherine Earnshaw, due to the marriage between Catherine and Edgar Linton. Heathcliff becomes devastated and begins his outrage.
“ …I shall pay Hindley back”(65), begins Heathcliff’s long journey of seeking revenge on those who have mistreated him. Heathcliff finds revenge in two ways, hurting the children of those who have hurt him and obtaining the land of those who have mistreated him. Hindley becomes the first person to endure the revenge of Heathcliff. When Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights after his three-year period of separation, Heathcliff notices Hindley has a gambling and drinking problem. Hindley obviously runs...