Heathcliff is an enigma- He enters Wuthering Heights with no details of his past and leaves (in death) with no recognisable cause of how he died.
He is 'a cuckoo'- He comes into the Earnshaw family and replaces Hindley much like a cuckoo goes into another birds nest and raises it's own young there.
He suffers huge degredation and violence from Hindley and through Catherine and Edgar his heart is wounded- He therefore has a relentless desire for revenge
He is often descirbed in diabolical language and often identified with natural forces
He is a character that constantly manipulates the readers feelings- His circumstance and unwavering passionate love for Catherine illicit sympathy but his brutality and determination for revenge causes us to re-think.
Heathcliff is partly paradoxical and he does nothing by halves, he loves and hates with his whole being-he is entirely passionate for Catherine yet shows an entire hatred for Hindley and The Lintons.
Quotes and Critics for Heathcliff
'He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman'
'Rough as saw-edge and hard as whinstone!'
Hindley sees 'Heathcliff as usurper of his parent's affections'
'uncomplaining as a lamb'
'imp of satan'
His eyes are 'devil's spies'/ 'deep set and singular. I remembered the eyes'
'bleak, hilly, coal country'
'His countenance [...] retained no marks of former degradation'
'He's not a rough diamond'
Quotes and Critics for Heathcliff- Continued
HC speaking about Catherine- 'I love my murderer- but yours! How can I?'
'he never called it the name in full, as he had never called the first Catherine in short'- He is still affected by her
'Heathcliff's [grave] still bare'- left alone by nature
Green- 'Byronic hero [...] he contains elements of the Gothic villain'
Green- 'The readers perception of him shifts continually'
Jones- 'Contradiction typifies Heathcliff. To Catherine he is both brother and lover'
Jones- His 'singular name [...] places him radically outside social patterns and conventions'
Mengham- 'Heathcliff's eyes, which hold something of a clue to his character, are his most striking feature'
Catherine is dominant and strong willed- Asks for her father to buy her a whip. Starves herself in a delirious state and evntually death as a punishment and a way of control
From Nelly description we get the impression she is mercurial and quite a difficult child and as she grows up there is often a lack of sympathy illicited from the reader due to her selfishness.
She and Heathcliff have a realtionship beyond the relm of the natural but she betrays him and his degradation for Edgar- someone who is more stable and can offer her greater social standing
Catherine does not gain peace in the afterlife until she is united with Heathcliff- Her ghost visits Lockwood. The memories of her 'haunt' Heathcliff- particuarly in the form of Cathy, who has her mothers eyes and some of her better traits
Critics and Quotes- Catherine
'she chose a whip'
'she was much to fond of Heathcliff'
'you look like a lady now'- veneer, but when she sees Heathcliff 'she flew to embrace him'- she has no inhibitions and no care of dirtying her clothes
'led her to adopt a double character'- Heathcliff and Linton
'It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff'
'he's more myself than i am. Whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, or frost from fire'
'if all else remained, and he was annihilated, the Universe would turn a mighty stranger'
'I am Heathcliff'
'I'm not jealous of you. I'm jealous for you'
Critics and Quotes- Catherine continued
'she fasted'- way of gaining control and making Edgar feel guilty
'You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff! [...] You have killed me'
'Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest [...] Haunt me, then!'
Jones- 'We cannot avoid the figure of Catherine, it is carved into the very text'
Jones- 'the characterisation of Catherine starts and end in an enigma'
Jones- 'Catherine chooses culture over nature'
Green- 'Cathy here betrays the extreme emotions that embodies her relationship with Heathcliff'
Frank- 'Catherine and Heathcliff our chainless souls'
Edgar and Isabella
Effeminate and genteelly bought up- Edgar is almost the antithesis of Catherines character. The reader is never given a very striking impression of him- Sickly and arrogant of an upper-class youth.
He is very unforgiving- When Isabella marries HC he no longer talks to her but when she is dying he does rush to her aid
He tends to his daughter very well- removing someone the readers earlier irritation towards him.
Isabella seems to be a naive and spoilt character- she falls in love with the idea of Heathcliff, ignoring his brutality but does seem to show more courage than her brother- stands to HC
The second generation
Cathy and Hareton inherit the best qualities of their parent yet Linton resembles his Uncle and is sickly and pevish
There calmer charcteristic cause the second part of the novel to be less extreme
Cathy- Bold and courageous (stands up to HC). Posseses her mothers best qualities in moderation.Her marriage to the sickly and selfish Linton acts as an atonement for the sin her mother commited when rejecting HC.
Hareton- Seems to be a mixture of both HC and Catherine. He is degraded by HC as a punishment for what his father (HIndley) did. However, he rises out of this and educates himself, eventually happily marrying Cathy.
Cathy and Haretons marriage seems to be almost a substitue for the marriage that never took place between HC and Catherine
Critics and Quotes- The second generation
Cathy- ' An unwelcomed infant it was', 'No angel in heaven could be more beautiful', 'moaning doll', 'It was named Catherine, but he never called it the name in full, as he had never called the first Catherine in short'
'her anger was never furious; her love never fierce; it was deep and tender'- 2nd generation more balanced than first
Linton- 'ailing, peevish creature', 'pale, delicate, effeminate boy'- strong resemblance to Edgar Linton, 'giggled'- effeminate
Hareton- 'good looking in features', 'owning better qualities than his father', 'Good things lost amid a wilderness of weeds'
Lockwood- Outsiders view of the story. To him books=knowledge and are therefore very important. Unable to read social ques and thinks of himself highly and fancies the idea of himself and Cathy. He thinks Nelly is telling a 'story'.
Nelly- the view of someone who is within the events (however bias her views may be). Unable to grasp her place within the Earnshaw family- servant or family. Like Lockwood shows a lack of sensitivity and if often socially inept. Deceptive and manipulative but often acts as a mother figure to Catherine.
Both narrators are very unreliable- causing the reader to questions their own judgements throughout the novel