Heathcliff vs. Edgar in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"

Essay by chicky9315High School, 12th grade February 2006

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There are several opposing characters in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights". The best example is that of Heathcliff and Edgar. Their childhood, appearances, and relationship with Catherine are complete opposites.

The two men had very different childhoods. Heathcliff was born into squalor and wandered the streets of Liverpool until Mr. Earnshaw took him home to his family. He was dirty and his clothes were ragged. "He seemed a sullen, patient child, hardened perhaps to ill-treatment." As a farmhand, he did the work of servants. He was harassed by Hindley constantly, yet he never shed a tear. The first time Heathcliff and Catherine laid eyes on Edgar he was crying; they had snuck over to Thrushcross Grange and, upon peering in the window, they saw little Edgar "weeping silently at the hearth." Edgar was obviously emotionally weaker than Heathcliff. He was smaller and fair skinned while Heathcliff was tough and dark.

When the Lintons went to Wuthering Heights for Christmas, Edgar and Heathcliff had a confrontation. Edgar made fun of Heathcliff's long shaggy hair which caused Heathcliff to let his anger out and to throw applesauce on Edgar. From the beginning, Heathcliff was strong and powerful while Edgar was the weaker one who could not defend himself against Heathcliff.

The two men have very different appearances. Heathcliff and Edgar physically look nothing alike. Heathcliff was tall, dark, and handsome while Edgar had light hair and eyes and was much smaller than Heathcliff. When they were children, Nelly tells Heathcliff, "you are younger, and yet I'll be bound, you are taller and twice as broad across the shoulders: you could knock him down in a twinkling." Not only are they physically opposite, but they are also from opposite levels of society. Edgar is from the Linton family, the...