Heathciff A Gothic Hero/Villain Essay

2991 words - 12 pages

Gothic Hero-Villain: HeathcliffA Gothic hero-villain is a common character within most gothic works of fiction. They are often the Anti-hero or Villain who started out as a hero, possess enough heroic characteristics or has such a sympathetic past that the reader can no longer view him as just the antagonist. There are a few forms of Gothic Hero-Villain that have arisen, and of all these conventions Heathcliff could be regarded as the Byronic Hero-Villain (Named after the poet Lord Byron); a darkly attractive and very conflicted male figure, a convention that surfaces everywhere in the 19th and 20th century gothic novels.The key characteristic of the Gothic Hero-Villain is that they are sexually intriguing, dangerous yet alluring. The most common form of this is in 'The Vampire', which have always been physically appealing since Carmilla and Dracula, through to The Vampire Diaries and Twilight. The convention has always been that they are vicious monsters but their exotic appearance and, in later fictions their tragic situation, makes them very appealing especially to female audiences, as seen in Dracula "with red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of." Heathcliff shares this Gothic Hero-Villain convention, as he's described as "a tall, athletic, well-formed man" and whom "in dress and manner a gentleman". He has an aristocratic air to him which is only heightened by Wuthering Heights similarities to a castle with "gargoyles" and "shameless little boys". Heathcliff is also described as "a dark skinned gypsy", implying he is exotic and foreign, this plays into a lot of conventions, and it is often used in making the character more alluring, like Count Dracula, readers find him interesting and strange. Heathcliff also "looked intelligent, and retained no marks of former degradation"; this intelligence creates the situation where he both conforms and diverges from traditional Gothic Hero-Villain conventions. Conforming as like many Gothic Hero-Villain he schemes and "raising a stir" in order to reach his revenge. Later he is often characterised to be "brooding on evil thoughts" however it is his scheme that makes him diverge from the typical Gothic Hero-Villain. Catherine foreshadows Heathcliff's plan by saying he is "quite capable of marrying your fortunes and expectations" to Isabella; this is seen to be true when he "had the impudence to embrace her". Heathcliff plans on using the law to his advantage, and is similar to the typical Victorian novels in the home and law based scenario of this novel, instead of someone like Satan from The Monk, who used much more horrific and twisted methods in order to reach his goals. The thing most brought up about Heathcliff however, is his "dark eyes" which is brought up reputedly in the novel as seen in "eyes deep set", "eyes full of black fire" and "I remembered the eyes" this is to show how like many Gothic Hero-Villain, despite his appearance Heathcliff is still...

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