Possible Psychological disorders Heathcliff portrays and how?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People such as Heathcliffe, the character in the novel 'Wuthering Heights' by author Emily Bronte, cannot be judged by the same criteria as the ordinary citizen who has enjoyed a life free from cruel treatment and financial privation. One has to look behind the superficial to see the root cause for Heathcliffe's personality disorder/madness. He can not show real unselfish unpossessive love towards another human being because he has not experienced it himself. He has attachment issues because his need to survive at any cost will not let him trust or go of people or things permanently. He is unable to experience empathy because his need to survive at any cost drove out the ability and space in his soul for other people and he had no example - the only man who showed him care died so he has abandonment issues as well. He seems pathological.

mkcapen1 | Student

Heathcliff is classic anti-social personality disorder. 

·      Heathcliff demonstrates lack of concern for conventional laws and feels that social restrictions and boundaries do not apply to him. 

·     He repeatedly violates the rights of others by treating Hindley, his son Linton, his wife Isabella, and anyone he chooses badly. 

·      He is abusive to his wife and son. 

·      He demonstrates no remorse at harming others.

·     He is easily agitated.

·     He has poor or limited relationships with others.

·     He is controlling and manipulative.

·     He uses charm and wit to manipulate others (Isabella into marrying him)

·     He has relationship difficulties.

·     Social isolation issues are present as Heathcliff rarely associates with others.

"Definition of anti-social disorder: Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which your ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional. When you have antisocial personality disorder, you typically have no regard for right and wrong. You may often violate the law and the rights of others, landing yourself in frequent trouble or conflict. "

udonbutterfly | Student

Lets start from when Heathcliff was first introduced to the family shall we!

When Heathcliff was first brought into the family he showed signs of being in a traumatic experience. Heathcliff would barely if ever speak a word and refrained from conversations. Remember where Mr. Earnshaw found him, in the slums of Liverpool in the streets. So you can tell that Heathcliff was either abandoned or perhaps both of his parents died  which would of course leave a haunting impression of him.

As Heathcliff grows he becomes more of a recluse on confining in Catherine which then creates this unhealthy love obsession between both of them.

When Heathcliff returns to avenge losing Catherine he shows signs of being a Sociopath and the funny thing is everyone  knows his character  except for his victims. Some examples of Heathcliff being a Sociopath would be...

  • Pretending to be head over heels for Isabella.
  • Manipulating Harley
  • lacks empathy and sympathy for anyone who, even Catherine to some extent,
  • Only cares for revenge and doesn't care if someone gets stomped on while they're in the way.
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Wuthering Heights

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