Exploring the Character of Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë

563 (1 page)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Table of contents

Emily Brontë's novel "Wuthering Heights" is a masterpiece of gothic literature, known for its complex characters and tumultuous relationships. At the heart of the narrative is Heathcliff, a character shrouded in mystery and contradiction. This essay delves into the intricate layers of the character of Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights", examining his origins, passions, dark motivations, and impact on those around him.

The Outsider and the Orphan

Heathcliff's origins lie in obscurity, adding to his aura of enigma. As a child, he is found on the streets of Liverpool by Mr. Earnshaw, who brings him to Wuthering Heights. His status as a dark-skinned orphan sets him apart from the other characters, marking him as an outsider.

Heathcliff's outsider status influences his behavior and relationships, driving him to develop a fierce independence and a desire for revenge against those who mistreat him. His traumatic childhood experiences lay the foundation for his complex personality and interactions throughout the novel.

Passion and Obsession

Heathcliff's relationship with Catherine Earnshaw, the novel's other central character, is marked by intense passion and obsession. Their deep emotional connection goes beyond friendship, bordering on an almost spiritual bond. Catherine's declaration that Heathcliff is her "soulmate" reveals the depth of their connection.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

However, their passionate bond also becomes a source of torment. Catherine's decision to marry Edgar Linton for social and economic reasons ignites Heathcliff's jealousy and sense of betrayal. This jealousy fuels his subsequent actions, setting off a chain of events that reverberates through generations.

Dark Motivations and Revenge

Heathcliff's motivations are driven by a thirst for revenge against those who have wronged him, particularly the Lintons and the Earnshaws. His experiences of discrimination and mistreatment as an orphan fuel his desire to assert power and control over those he sees as oppressors.

Heathcliff's quest for revenge is multifaceted, leading him to manipulate and hurt those around him. His manipulation of Isabella Linton, whom he marries to secure Thrushcross Grange, and his cruel treatment of his own son, Linton Heathcliff, exemplify his willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

Impact on Others

Heathcliff's presence casts a long shadow over the lives of those around him. His relationship with Catherine has a lasting impact on her psyche and contributes to her eventual decline. Similarly, his mistreatment of Isabella and his abusive treatment of his own son shape the fates of the next generation.

Heathcliff's malevolent influence is pervasive, tainting the atmosphere of Wuthering Heights and affecting the lives of all who come into contact with him. His vengeful actions have far-reaching consequences, highlighting the destructive power of obsession and resentment.

Conclusion: A Complex Antihero

Heathcliff's character in "Wuthering Heights" is a study in complexity. He is both a victim of circumstances and a perpetrator of cruelty, a tormented soul seeking revenge and a product of societal injustice. His dark motivations, intense passions, and impact on other characters make him a fascinating and haunting figure.

Heathcliff defies easy categorization as a hero or villain, embodying elements of both. His complexity invites readers to grapple with the nature of good and evil, the influence of environment on character, and the enduring power of human emotions.


  • Brontë, E. (1847). Wuthering Heights. Thomas Cautley Newby.
  • McGlinn, M. (Ed.). (2008). Wuthering Heights: Ignatius Critical Edition. Ignatius Press.
  • Glen, H. (Ed.). (2018). Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights. Cambridge University Press.
  • Lukas, M. (1990). The Novels of the Brontë Sisters: Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, Jane Eyre. Macmillan.
  • Peters, M. (Ed.). (2005). Wuthering Heights: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism. Bedford/St. Martin's.
You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Exploring the Character of Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë. (2023, August 29). WritingBros. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-the-character-of-heathcliff-in-wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte/
“Exploring the Character of Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë.” WritingBros, 29 Aug. 2023, writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-the-character-of-heathcliff-in-wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte/
Exploring the Character of Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-the-character-of-heathcliff-in-wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte/> [Accessed 18 Jun. 2024].
Exploring the Character of Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 Aug 29 [cited 2024 Jun 18]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-the-character-of-heathcliff-in-wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte/
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges