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Is Heathcliff a realistic character or more of a symbolic representation? Discuss in...

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vihaan | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM via web

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Is Heathcliff a realistic character or more of a symbolic representation? Discuss in detail.

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podunc | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 13, 2009 at 11:20 AM (Answer #1)

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In Heathcliff, Emily Bronte creates an exaggerated character prone to extremes. He is an excellent example of the archetypal "Byronic" hero, a kind of anti-hero who is isolated, arrogant, and unrepentant about his behavior. This new heroic representation came out of the Romantic movement and was inspired by both Lord Byron himself and his work "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." As a Byronic hero, Healthcliff is not drawn realistically but rather functions as a symbol in "Wuthering Heights."

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