Heathcliff: a Victim of Villainry

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Heathcliff: A Victim of Villainy

In "Wuthering Heights," we see tragedies follow one by one, most of which are focused around Heathcliff, the antihero of the novel. After the troubled childhood Heathcliff goes through, he becomes embittered towards the world and loses interest in everything but Catherine Earnshaw –his childhood sweetheart whom he had instantly fallen in love with.—and revenge upon anyone who had tried to keep them apart. The novel begins with a few short introduction chapters which Bronte had most likely used to illustrate how incompetent the character of Lockwood was, and to foreshadow what was to come in later chapters. After these, it begins to immediately demonstrate to the reader the plight of Heathcliff's childhood and how hard a time he had had of it. The very first time that Heathcliff is mentioned, he is described as "A dirty, ragged, black-haired child, big enough both to walk and talk…" [Wuthering Heights, Chapter 4] and is referred to as "It." Mr. Earnshaw claimed to have found him starving, homeless, and abandoned on his trip to Liverpool. This sounds incredulous to say the least, considering that Mr. Earnshaw had made the trip on several other occasions without bringing back any ‘surprises', and that the cities of London at the time were practically crawling with Orphans. While it never outright states so within the novel, it appears as if Heathcliff is in fact Mr. Earnshaw's illegitimate child. If this was the case, it would also provide an explanation why Catherine and Heathcliff did not express their mutual passion for another in a physical way—while at the time marrying your cousin was an accepted practice, relationships with a half-sibling were highly frowned upon. As Heathcliff aged, his love for Catherine—first shown on the night of Mr. Earnshaws death when only the two of them can comfort each other—blossomed and bloomed not into the rose which would have been expected from such a strong, passionate love, but into...
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