The villainous character in Wuthering Heights is Heathcliff. What makes him so fascinating is that he is also one of the most romantic characters in literature. He is cruel beyond belief, vulgar, and egotistical, but he becomes that way because of the love he is denied as a child. As a result, we do not hate him as we otherwise might, but tend to feel some sympathy for him. In addition, he adores Cathy and she, despite her dreadful rejection of him, adores him. One of the most beautiful passages in literature is when she describes her love for him to Nelli, where Cathy in effect says her heart will always belong to Heathcliff. He is, as my students tell me, her “soul mate.” He is associated with what is wild and unclaimed, which makes him heroic as well as mean. He loves powerfully and hates powerfully. In short, he is a Romantic villain, which is to say a Romantic hero, for the extraordinary power of his emotions.