Wuthering Heights (Heathcliff Symbolism)

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April 25th, 2012
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The gothic novel, Wuthering Heights, is designed to both horrify and entertain readers with scenes of passion and cruelty. The novel is set around the time period of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, with most of it taking place on the two neighboring houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The lead character, Heathcliff, is a huge part in making the novel seem cruel. Heathcliff symbolizes evil while Emily Bronte portrays him as a jealous, controlling, and revengeful man, who through his actions ruins the lives of numerous characters. One may believe that Heathcliff is very jealous of Catherine and Edgar’s marriage. An example to support this is when Heathcliff hears Catherine agree to marry Edgar Linton “it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now” (Bronte 114) he leaves Wuthering Heights. The degrading of Heathcliff by Hindley, of forcing him into a lower social status results in Heathcliff’s unworthiness in Catherine’s eyes. This leads him into a jealous lifestyle that causes him to carry out his evil actions. Returning years later, Heathcliff still very jealous of Catherine and Edgar’s relationship, marries Isabella Linton. However, Heathcliff is not only jealous of Catherine and Edgar’s relationship but also of Cathy and Hareton’s. Cathy and Hareton’s love matures and grows stronger as they become older. This is much the type of love and relationship that Heathcliff desired to have with Catherine years ago. Heathcliff did not get to experience this feeling of love so his jealousy would not allow Cathy and Hareton to have that kind of bond. However, not only is he jealous of Cathy’s relationship but also holds a grudge against her which is another example of his evil doings.

Holding grudges is a distinct characteristic that symbolizes the evil Heathcliff exhibits toward several of the characters in the novel. Heathcliff never forgives others for their past actions therefore he is good at holding grudges...
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