Heathcliff: Victim or Villain?

Essay by partychikxoxoHigh School, 12th grade April 2004

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Although Heathcliff was a victim several times within Wuthering Heights, does this justify his immoral actions that hurt those around him? It is true that Catherine is extremely selfish, but she never intentionally or deliberately planned to hurt anyone in this novel. Heathcliff's manipulative and vengeful actions are truly those of a villain.

Heathcliff as a Victim:

Nelly's unwillingness to acknowledge Heathcliff's presence to Catherine in a crucial time allowed him to overhear the hurtful things that she was saying. If Nelly had tried to stop Heathcliff from running away, he may have been present to hear all of the positive things that Catherine would later declare about him.

Although Heathcliff is her soul mate, Catherine married Edgar instead because of his money and social status. Her selfishness makes Heathcliff a victim, and denies him of his true love.

Heathcliff is a victim because his parents left him, and because of his darker skin.

The Linton's show prejudice towards him, and judge him by his looks.

Catherine as a Victimizer

Catherine truly hurts Heathcliff by marrying Edgar, whom she does not love. She knows that Heathcliff is her soul mate, but does not find him suitable for a husband. Her selfishness in turn causes many problems throughout the novel.

When Edgar visits Wuthering Heights to see Catherine, she betrays Heathcliff by telling him to leave her and Edgar alone. Although Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship was very strong, she completely forgets about him once Edgar arrives.

Catherine expects everybody to do what she says, and becomes hysterical when people do not. She pinches Nelly in a fit of passion, which shows her instability as a character.

Heathcliff as a Villain

Heathcliff purposely influences Hareton, who was at the time a young child, to hate his father. His negative affect...