Through the duration of Heathcliff’s life, he encounters many tumultuous events that affects him as a person and transforms his rage deeper into his soul, for which he is unable to escape his nature. Love, however, seems to be at the centre of his rage. From the beginning of the novel (and most likely from the beginning of Heathcliff’s life) he has suffered pain and rejection. When Mr. Earnshaw brings him to Wuthering Heights, he is viewed as a thing rather than a child. Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out the doors, while Nelly put it on the landing of the stairs hoping that it would be gone the next day. Hindley had a deep sibling rivalry for the child. Without having done anything to deserve rejection, Heathcliff is made to feel like an outsider. Following the death of Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff suffers cruel mistreatment at the hands of Hindley.
It seems that in these tender years, he is deprived of love, friendship, and education. He is separated from the family, reduced to the status of a servant, undergoes regular beatings, but most of all, he is forcibly separated from his soul mate, Catherine. The personality that Heathcliff develops in his adulthood has been formed in response to these hardships of his childhood. The most implicating sense of alienation occurs with Catherine’s marriage to Edgar, Heathcliff considers this a betrayal of his love for her, since she wants the social status and existence at the Grange.
Heathcliff is however proud and determined and does not cower when opposed by those consider themselves to be superiors. Finally, when he realizes that Catherine has chosen status, wealth and position over him, he disappears for three years and returns in the manner of a gentleman. “Nelly, I see now you think me a selfish wretch; but did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars? whereas, if I marry Linton I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother’s power.'”
The problem, however, is the nature behind Catherine Linton’s romantic ideology. She boldly loves Heathcliff for who he is, it seems she is quite selfish in some ways and cares equally about status since her stay at Thrushcross Grange. While she weighs the options of either being with the wild but alluring Heathcliff over the wealthy but displeasing Edgar Linton, she decides that her own needs and wants could be fulfilled. How wrong she was.
These lines show her struggle, they show her ignorance, and give the reader the sense that her whole life revolves around herself. She liked the attention that she got from this predicament and will continue to get attention until it finally kills her. The passage indicates a dilemma among one self. This type of problem usually centers on the ignorance of the subject. She lead herself into a to a self-inflicting sickness ultimately leading to the deterioration of the mind and the body. It is in this one dialogue that defines her character for the rest of the novel. Good intentioned, but nonetheless has the wrong idea. She is a woman who, in her fatal decision, has killed herself.
From then on, Heathcliff is in reality, a man torn between love and hate. Since his depths of his passions, he hates as deeply as he loves. As Heathcliff approaches death and a reunion of Catherine, he no longer has an interest for revenge. He falls deeply into a spiritual torment. He is a powerful villain driven by revenge, and made emotionally unstable by Catherine’s marriage. This later Heathcliff is characterized by coldness; by an incapacity to love and ultimately by getting revenge against those who have disconnected him with his beloved Catherine. Just as he begins life, he ends life as an unloved, lonely outsider.
Courtney from Study Moose
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