Heathcliff is a villain in the novel, "Wuthering Heights", however he can still win the sympathy of the reader in different stages of the novel.
When Heathcliff first came into the story, he was an innocent, young boy who had done nothing wrong. He was tormented and disturbed nightly for 18 years, ever having only one wish to be reunited with Catherine. At this stage of the novel, the reader tends to sympathise for Heathcliff for all that he has endured.
Heathcliff's only ever wanting to be with Catherine, has showed that he is a man who is truly in love, therefore he is extremely put down by the loss of Cathy. Through this, Heathcliff becomes a villain, basing his life on getting revenge on Hindley and Edgar by putting together evil schemes. Sympathy is still contained in the reader, although it becomes lesser and lesser as Heathcliff goes on ruining and destroying lives.
Emily Bronte ends the novel with Heathcliff being heartless as ever, informing Nelly that she is never to set foot on Wuthering Heights again, and effectively leaving Cathy alone in her new home. Ending the novel on this negative note makes most sympathy for Heathcliff disappear. Therefore, Heathcliff gained and lost sympathy from the readers at different stages throughout the novel.