I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

“Wuthering Heights”: An Individual Against The Surrounding

Emily Bronte portrays Heathcliff as an evil incarnation in Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is the unwelcoming landowner in Wuthering Heights. It is obvious that Heathcliff was born with his evil traits. Later, however, it becomes clear that Heathcliff is not a wicked person. He has a rich history with Wuthering Heights. Some believe Heathcliff is an evil person. However, Heathcliff’s true nature is ingratitude and cruelty. He was treated badly by Wuthering Heights residents.

Before we can fully grasp the immorality of Heathcliff during the best portion of Wuthering Heights, let’s first look at evidence of Heathcliff’s original, undisturbed behavior. Heathcliff was first brought home by Mr. Earnshaw. It is said that Heathcliff was found “good and dumb” in Liverpool. He then inquired about his owner. Heathcliff’s past, which is not mentioned in the novel, is symbolic of how Heathcliff gets a new start in Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff only becomes aware of his true nature after he is introduced to the world of Wuthering Heights. Although Heathcliff is a poor, gypsy-like man, he behaves civilized upon his arrival at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff has been described as a “sullen child,” (36). His behavior is better than that of Catherine Hindley, Nelly Dean, and Hindley. But, Heathcliff quickly changes his mind due to the harsh Wuthering Heights environment. Heathcliff immediately feels disapproval and unwelcome when he enters Wuthering Heights. Mrs. Earnshaw was disgusted by his reaction. “Mrs. Earnshaw was ready and willing to throw it outside of doors. She flew up to inquire how he [Mr. Earnshaw] could manage to bring the gipsy baby into the home when they had their own bairns for food and care for. He meant what he wanted to do with the thing, and if it was mad” (35). Heathcliff feels unwelcome and unwanted in Mrs. Earnshaw’s resentful reaction to her. Her children also see Mrs. Earnshaw as a negative role model. Catherine and Hindley were shocked at the manner in which Heathcliff’s mother treated her guest. Catherine’s first feelings towards Heathcliff were disgusting, although they change over time. She then begins to spit on Heathcliff. Nelly Dean is also inhospitable, making Heathcliff sleep on the landing of the staircase. Heathcliff’s descent to evil is most likely caused by Hindley, who treats Heathcliff worst of all the characters. Hindley is jealous of Heathcliff’s affection, which Mr. Earnshaw freely gives to him. Hindley beats Heathcliff as Mr. Earnshaw lives and then makes Mr. Earnshaw look like a child in a stable. This inhumane treatment leads to Heathcliff’s inhumane treatment of others later in his life.

Heathcliff suffers from personality damage at an early stage, but there are more later events that cause him to be a total evil embodiment. Heathcliff’s infuriating behavior is triggered by Catherine’s thoughts about marrying Edgar, his neighbor of wealth and social standing. Heathcliff hears Catherine tell Nelly Dean that it would be a degrading act to marry Heathcliff. He will never know how much he loves him. Heathcliff is embarrassed by his social standing. He eventually runs away from Wuthering Height. Heathcliff is now a complete evil man, bent on revenge for the suffering and pain he suffered in his youth.

Examining Heathcliff’s childhood, we see that he wasn’t cruel and that his actions were influenced by others. Heathcliff was born with good nature and it is evident that he did not inherit these evil qualities. Heathcliff’s negative qualities like ingratitude, cruelty and selfishness are more a result of his childhood environment. Heathcliff’s surroundings are a dramatic and chaotic place in Wuthering Heights.

Works cited

Bronte, Emily. The novel Wuthering Heights tells the story of the passionate and tumultuous relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Oxford University Press in Oxford released a book in 1988.

Back to top