A cuckoo's story

How Emily Bronte portrays Heathcliff as a symbol of social neglect.

Emily Bronte, Wuthering heights is a story of love which then develops into obsession. Bronte wrote this classical love story in 1847. She influences the isolated date setting and dynamic characters which allows us to examine the self - destructive pain of desire.

Heathcliff enters the story during Nelly's narration with the role of a seven year old orphan from Liverpool who was adopted by Mr. Earnshaw and taken back to Wuthering Heights which then progresses to a role of an avenger. His life, by Nelly was described as "a cuckoo's story". Heathcliff was adopted into another family his parents were nowhere to be found and was "fed" allot of love while the children of the family were neglected, or so Nelly initially presents Heathcliff to the reader. We, the reader are immediately given the image of a deprived child showered in love, at the experience of others.

The role of the boss points to Heathcliff's misery which was caused by Hindley and it was the treatment that was neated out by Hindley to Heathcliff after Mr. Earnshaw's death. This provokes Heathcliff's deep and enduring hatred and an all uncontrollable craze for revenge. Heathcliff never forgot when he was wronged by someone during his childhood. After three years Heathcliff returned to Wuthering Heights, the desire to revenge himself on all those who he believes of having hurt/offended him becomes his overwhelming passion. He ruins Hindley by encouraging him to drink and gamble and when he was out of the way Heathcliff turns his interest towards Hareton-: "We'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another with the same wind to twist it". He also focuses his revenge towards Edgar Linton, who he feels as having stolen Catherine from him. He creates a sequence of schemes to force the ownership of the Grange from Linton's family and keep it for himself. He marries Isabella so he would be able to gain a grip in the Grange and to get his revenge on Edgar-: "Edgar's proxy in suffering". He forces his son Linton to marry Cathy so he could to secure the ownership of the Grange; he then gained his revenge on edger; who had lost his family and estate. However I believe that Heathcliff's urge for revenge got the better of him.

Heathcliff is the leader/boss. His existence in Wuthering Heights puts an end to the habits of MR. Earnshaw's family; members of the family shortly became occupied in commotion, confusion, and disturbance and fighting. The family relationships became spiteful; as Nelly said: "From the very beginning he bred bad feelings in the house".

Heathcliff's character as an avenger is assisted by his cleverness and perceptive of not just of his own ambitions, but including the ambitions of others. He recognises the cause of Isabella's obsession that-: "she abandoned this under a delusion" - "picturing in me a hero of romance". He also takes advantage of Linton's unfortunate health by encouraging the misfortune of Cathy so that her love and empathy would aid a marriage that would leave Heathcliff as the master of the Grange.

While Heathcliff urges his revenge, Bronte develops his emotions in to cruel thoughts which causes his character to be continuously connected with vile feelings, actions and images. As Bronte continues the use of his imagination it starts to make the readers to give Heathcliff an inhuman aspect. He regrets saving the Hareton as Nelly recalls: "his face bore the greatest pain at he being the instrument that thwarted his own revenge". He takes pleasure of the fact that Hareton was born with an aware and sensitive nature which Heathcliff eventually corrupted and degraded. Heathcliff's delight at this corruption was enlarged far the reason that-: "Hareton is damnably fond of me". Heathcliff's brutality is evident when he hangs Isabella's dog even when she protested against it. His attitude shows that he does not have any fatherly feeling. He sees Linton only as a wager to help him gain his revenge and his key consideration lies in calculating if Linton stays alive long enough to get married to Catherine so having won Thrushcross Grange-: "We calculate it will scarcely last 'till it's eighteen." Once Heathcliff was got married to Isabella he saw Linton's life as worthless -: "His life is not worth a farthing, and I won't spend a farthing on him" he finds pleasure in treating Isabella cruelly. He tells Nelly-: "The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush the entrails" Isabella admits the merciless behaviour by Heathcliff and asks- "Is MR. Heathcliff a man - is he the devil?"

Emily Bronte made Heathcliff's character with many faces, when he was young he was judged on by his fiery temper, his proud nature, his affection towards Catherine and his capacity for hatred. When Heathcliff becomes an adult and returns to Wuthering Heights after three years. Bronte portrays him as a human villain who is obsessed with revenge and blinded by the sense of the wrongs done to him. Catherine's marriage makes him emotionally unstable. Bronte later characterises Heathcliff as callousness by his incapacity to love and eventually by an all consuming passion for revenge against those who have wronged him and for unification with his beloved Catherine.

Emily Bronte portrays Heathcliff as a tormented spirit. After Catherine's death, Heathcliff's long for love has vanished. He then focuses totally on demanding revenge. As he gets closer to death, he confesses the amount of Catherine's clutch over him to Nelly, even though it has been 18 years since her death-: "I cannot look down into the floor; her features are shaped in the flags...in every cloud, in every tree." A good example of despair received by Heathcliff's tormented spirit is shown when he gets news of Catherine's death -: "I cannot live without my life, I cannot live without my soul". He howled, like a savage beast getting aggravated to death with spears and knives. After Catherine's death Heathcliff found his existence unnatural for the reason that he believes he should be with her in body and also in spirit. This is evident when he arranged to be buried beside her. He finds his life "like bending back a stiff spring". The young Cathy distinguishes that Heathcliff has rejected all society however, she doesn't realise that his obsession remains to her late mother-: "Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you...your cruelty arises from your greater misery."

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