Heathcliff, The Non Conformist Portrayed In Bronte's Wuthering Heights

636 words - 3 pages

In Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights Heathcliff is represented as a non-conformist due to his unorthodox behavior in relation to other characters. The novel gives an idealistic insight into the accepted social discourses of the era, to which Heathcliff does not comply. These unconventional heroic traits can be closely associated with that of the Byronic Hero. Heathcliff also struggles to adjust his persona to the stereotypical romance hero in his quest for love.

As a child and adolescent, both Heathcliff’s sullen manner and unpleasant appearance fail to comply with the so called heroic characteristics that are often encompassed by the genuine romance hero. He does however pursue many similar traits to that of the Byronic hero including his arrogant and selfish morality. “Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I sha'n't tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but I beseech you to explain, if you can, what I have married”. Bronte commonly uses other characters prejudice outlooks to emphasise Heathcliff’s unruly behaviour and appearance. One character that depicts this issue throughout the entire text is Heathcliff’s menacing step brother, Hindley. “Dark skinned Gipsy” and “Plough Boy”, are just a number of insulting terms Heathcliff is referred to as by him. Statements such as these tend to demonstrate the importance of class order in society. Immediately the reader can identify that Heathcliff came from a low class society. This is also exemplified when Catherine and Heathcliff are caught prying about the Linton’s estate and Catherine is taken into attentive care by the maids after being mauled by a vicious dog. Heathcliff is sent away immediately by the Linton’s just after it is stated that he is “quite unfit for a decent house” and that he looks similar to an “American or Latin castaway”.

Heathcliff realises for himself what society sincerely think of him when he overhears Catherine and...

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