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The Use Of The Supernatural In Wuthering Heights By Emily Bronte

1066 words - 4 pages

The supernatural is used widely throughout 'Wuthering Heights' and plays a big part in determining the outcome of the story. The Victorians were very superstitious about the supernatural. Education was already becoming commonplace in Victorian England, and education brought scepticism. The majority of people were very sceptical about the supernatural but not non-believers because of the number of ghost stories that came in this period. The age of the Victorians was an important period where people's perceptions and ghosts changed dramatically, from partially believing in ghosts, to not believing in them at all, yet still being terrified of them. This clearly explains Heathcliff's reaction to seeing the ghost of Cathy. At first, the book was seen as shocking and inappropriate by all its readers.
When the book was first published, readers of the time saw it as extremely scandalous. Despite the fact that the novel doesn't not demonstrate any sex or bloodshed its depiction of the passionate love story of Cathy and Heathcliff was considered highly inappropriate, and was ignored for some time.

Bronte uses the supernatural through the entirety of the novel, however she uses it unconventionally. Heathcliff is not 'supernatural' in the sense that he is paranormal, but in that he appears to be superhuman. He appears bigger, stronger and larger than everything and everyone else around him. A large part of the fearsome power of the novel is the fact that Heathcliff is ultimately still flesh and blood, therefore, the horror and brutality of his actions make him seem supernatural (due to the severity of them). Heathcliff's malevolence proves great and long-lasting, this is shown in the abuse of Isabella, which he describes himself as purely sadistic-‘writhing in the torments of hell’ as he amuses himself by seeing how much abuse she can take and still come back for more. This is the way that Bronte and the narrators of the book seek to present him. He is referred to as a "vampire" and a "goblin" (due to the way he treats others around him) and Linton perceives his father as a malevolent spirit, as he is looking down on his meetings with Catherine from the Heights.

Heathcliff says "Last night I was in the Grange garden six hours, and I'll return there to-night; and every night I'll haunt the place, and every day, till I find an opportunity of entering." Here, Heathcliff presents himself as a determined and tormenting spirit. One of the ways Bronte particularly uses the supernatural, is to develop the character of Heathcliff as the Byronic hero. Bronte frequently uses language that presents Heathcliff as a disturbing, gothic character, in order to create the impression that Heathcliff is a supernatural power within the world of the novel. Not only does Heathcliff appear determined in this quote, he also appears to have a stalker-like style about him, saying that he'll return 'to-night, and every night' he'll haunt the place.

The supernatural plays a...

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