Wuthering Heights Essay - Is Heathcliff truly evil?
I think with the modern understanding of the way childhood affects
one's whole perception of life and the world, we would be arrogant to
call Heathcliff evil.
Without a doubt Heathcliff is an anomaly. Lockwood initially describes
him as "a dark skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a
gentleman". The first view we have of heathcliff is as dark, handsome,
gentlemanly and morose. These qualities, coupled with his 'Lord of the
manner' apparel may invoke in the reader popular evil characters such
as 'Count Dracula'. We must investigate deeper the moody and
mysterious Heatchliff in order to answer our question.
In Nelly Dean's story, Mr. Earnshaw brings back a "dirty, ragged,
black haired child" found abandoned. Although his origin remains
mysterious, we can guess that it was not good. It also seems that he
learned to manipulate the family early on. "Conscious he had only to
speak and all the house would be obliged to bend to all his wishes"
Nelly Dean says. We know now what sorts of behaviours are exhibited by
children with unstable upbringings and perhaps Heathcliff is simply
reacting in a sort of survival mode. He becomes attached, if not
infatuated by the wild and beautiful Catherine and they form a sort of
unworldly passionate relationship on which Heathcliff stakes
Imagine then, his deep hurt at Catherine's growing affection for Edgar
Linton and her apparent transformation to a demure society lady. She
spurns his affection and blows very hot and cold about her feelings
for him. Eventually degraded and abused by Hindley and after having
heard Catherine express to her maid that "it would degrade her to
marry him", he runs away. We can only imagine how during the following
years he must have brooded and obsessed; hating his lowly station ;(
he didn't even have a surname, which must have served to reinforce his
sense of powerlessness in...