Victimization In Wuthering Heights Essay

1965 words - 8 pages


In the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë there are multitudes of examples of victimization, inflicted on every character by every character. There are even less literal instances of victimization in Wuthering Heights. For example, the symbolism we read in the book about the moors, and the wild, expansive, rough and infertile land in which this story takes place. All these aspects of the setting mirror perfectly the relationships between the characters and the victimization they inflict on each other, such as the victimization of the rough winds and weather that is the cause infertility on the land of Wuthering Heights. Although all the characters victimize each other in some way big or small, it is known that the biggest and most enthusiastic perpetrator is Heathcliff, who had also been a victimized. Even before Heathcliff arrives at Wuthering Heights by way of Mr. Earnshaw he is a victim. He was an abandoned “dirty, ragged, black-haired child.” Heathcliff had experienced racism because of his dark skin and hair color, and he knew hardship and accepted his sufferings without complaint.

When Heathcliff arrived at Wuthering Heights, although the rest of the family was fairly sceptical of his presence Mr. Earnshaw loved and adored him, even more than his own son Hindley, and prior to Mr. Earnshaws’ death, Heathcliff was considered a part of the family and Mr. Earnshaw loved and adored Heathcliff until his death. Following the death of Mr. Earnshaw Hindley begins to victimize Heathcliff- beating Heathcliff and then physically separating him from the family, turning Heathcliff into a stable boy/servant. Hindley’s victimization of Heathcliff later becomes ironic when Heathcliff victimizes his former perpetrator. Heathcliff enables Hindley and takes advantage of him when he is sinking further into a life of alcoholism, gambling and general debauchery that will eventually lead to Hindley’s death, and Heathcliff does this with absolutely no shame.

Heathcliff is further victimized by Cathy, as well as his extremely strong love for her. The first instance of victimization is accidental, but causes problems nonetheless. Cathy claims to be in so love with Heathcliff that they are one person, but she won’t marry him because of her desire to further her social status. Heathcliff overheard Cathy saying this to Nelly, and is this is the triggering event. Hearing this causes Heathcliff to run away for years, returning mysteriously and not telling anyone where he was or what he was doing. His return also marks the beginning of his revenge and victimization of the other characters.

Returning to a former point, Heathcliff is a victim of his extreme and powerful love for Cathy, in both life and death. Following Cathy’s death Heathcliff exclaims “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” With these words we can see that Heathcliff’s love for Cathy is not just normal “true love,” but also a spiritual love. When Cathy dies...

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