Heathcliff: Made a Villain by Love

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Love is a two way street. In order for love to work it must be given and returned. If love is left unfulfilled it can lead a person to be spiteful, vengeful, and at the extreme villainous. In Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is the villain because he is frustrated about his unrequited love for Cathy. Heathcliff's villainy is apparent in how he treats the Earnshaws, degrading Hindley and Hareton just as Hindley did him. This is also shown in his actions against the Lintons. Heathcliff hates the Lintons because Cathy married Edgar. Heathcliff uses his treachery to steal away the Linton fortune and to degrade their offspring. Heathcliff's villainy is finally shown in how he treats Cathy herself. He loves her so much he hates her. He feels that Cathy betrayed her heart and married Edgar. Heathcliff as the villain is first shown in his actions against the Earnshaws.

When Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights after several years, his frustration leads him to exact revenge on Hindley Earnshaw. Heathcliff blames Hindley for Cathy not returning his love and becoming married to Edgar. Hindley reduced Heathcliff to such a status that it would ruin Cathy to marry him. Heathcliff's villainy is shown when he returns the favour to Hindley, reducing him and his son Hareton to servant class. This is apparent when Heathcliff is talking to Nellie about his joy in degrading Hareton, he says,

I've pleasure in him!...He has satisfied my expectations - if he were born a fool

I should not enjoy it half so much - But he's no fool; and I can sympathise with

all his feelings, having felt them myself - I know what he suffers now, for instance exactly - it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer though. And he'll never

be able to emerge from his bathos of coarseness, and ignorance. I've got him

faster than his scoundral of a father secured me, and lower; for he takes a pride

in his brutishness. (252-253)...
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