Sympathy for Heathcliff? 12th Grade
Many aspects of Heathcliff's personality are apparently “fiendish," complementing his role as the ‘Byronic hero’ of the Wuthering Heights, a character who is dark, rebellious, and antisocial. However, the Byronic hero is also seen to be an enticingly romantic character, while Heathcliff displays a very different sort of persona. With his mistreatment as a child, his isolation, and his psychological deterioration after the death of Cathy, Heathcliff is a remarkably sympathetic character.
Bronte presents Heathcliff’s childhood as a harsh one, full of mistreatment which makes us feel sympathetic towards him since he is so vulnerable. We learn that Heathcliff is already an orphan, and knowing that “Mrs Earnshaw was ready to fling it [Heathcliff] out of doors” appeals to the Gothic theme of injustice. The objectification of Heathcliff through “it” cements him as an dispensable item to Mrs Earnshaw, a person who can be “flung” away just like a piece of rubbish. To further exemplify his mistreatment, Heathcliff is also subjected to great physical violence, but “stand[s] Hindley’s blows without winking,” which shows how Heathcliff does not retaliate to those that hurt him. Instead, he simply endures violence. However, some may argue...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 905 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7165 literature essays, 2011 sample college application essays, 296 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in