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Heathcliff began life as an orphan. We feel for him when he is treated unkindly, and we support him when he returns to Wuthering Heights a monied gentleman. Unfortunately, Heathcliff is really no gentleman and is far from the hero we expect. His fall comes from a continual desire for revenge; he is cruel, and although we look for virtue...... if there ever was any, it has disappeared..... this is evident in his sadistic and inexcusable treatment of Isabella.
It is important to remember however that Heathcliff's opportunities were really doomed from the beginning. The orphan was taken in by the wealthy, benevolent, kind spirited Mr Earnshaw. Heathcliff was loved..... that's a fact, but the love and protection he received while Mr Earnshaw was alive quickly disappeared when he died. Heathcliff perseveres, but catherine marries elsewhere, and Heathcliff elopes with Isabella. The fact is, he made himself an independent, wealthy man for all the wrong reasons. He didn't want money or things..... he wanted to get back at the people he felt had wronged him. Some who had..... and others who had not.
Heathcliff becomes a family member who is somewhat despised by the family member, especially Hindley, who never really welcomes Heathcliff and who, in fact, abuses him until Hindley's wife dies. He leaves the family estate, makes his fortune, and comes back to ultimately control Wuthering Heights and its future and to make Hindley's life miserable. Ultimately, Cathy, the love of his life, dies and he lives the rest of his life rather unhappily. He does manipulate the Linton family by having his son marry the young Cathy and ultimately controls Thrushcross Grange as well.