Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Heathcliff is "dark" and "evil." Do you agree? Discuss in the light of your reading of Wuthering Heights.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree that Heathcliff is a dark character, by which I mean he is horribly tormented by his past, but I do not agree that he is evil. He is a classic case of a character more sinned against than sinning (though he does sin).

Heathcliff suffers abuse and degradation at the hands of his older stepbrother Hindley, who resents him for having been his father's favorite. Hindley, who becomes a grief-stricken alcoholic after the death of his wife, beats Heathcliff savagely and forces him to work as a farmhand.

Because he has been so degraded, Heathcliff is rejected by Catherine, although she loves him deeply. She instead marries the wealthy Edgar Linton. Heathcliff runs away when he understands that Catherine has betrayed him and returns three years later refashioned into a gentleman—and bent on revenge. When Catherine dies, Heathcliff's desire for revenge against the Earnshaws and the Lintons, the families he blames for her death, grows more intense.

Heathcliff shows his dark and tortured...

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