Heathcliff - His Own Worst Enemy Heathcliff, one of the central character of Wuthering Heights, evolves from an empathetic, innocent victim to a self-centered vindictive individual. This transformation is slow and develops in three distinctive parts. First, Heathcliff is sympathetically portrayed as an interloper. Next, he is characterized as an individual who is beginning to lose his innocence because he is coping with situations beyond his control. Finally, Heathcliff is a hardened man who manifests hostility and anger toward everyone. The change from victim to victimizer is what makes the novel interesting and timeless. It also hooks the reader because he or she identifies with the main character and recognizes elements of his or her own personal growth and development.
Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights as a dirty, ragged, gypsy boy, by Mr. Earnshaw, the master of Wuthering Heights. The orphan child is baptized with the name Heathcliff, the name of an Earnshaw baby that died at birth.
As Heathcliff grows up, he is compared to a "cuckoo" by Mrs. Dean. A cuckoo is a bird who comes into a nest and takes the place of the natural siblings. Heathcliff, like a cuckoo, is an intruder who takes the place of a natural offspring and becomes the sole focus of the family. This circumstance foreshadows a life of a child who tries to be something that is impossible. Heathcliff can never be more than what he is. He can never be accepted as a natural son in the Earnshaw family. Regardless of what he does or how hard he tries, he will always be the interloper.
Early in the novel, Heathcliff is picked on by Hindly and he assumes a assertive and threatening posture. "You must exchange horses with me: I don't like mine: and if you...