Wuthering Heights

1112 words 5 pages
How does Emily Brontë make us sympathize with Heathcliff?

Heathcliff is a ruthless character. No obstacle ever gets in his way when it comes to exacting revenge on several other characters in the novel, be it Hindley or Edgar Linton. He will kill or torture young and old to pay back those who have hurt him and deprived him of his love for Catherine. However, among all these atrocities, we still feel great sympathy for him. This is mainly due to the many techniques employed by Brontë and the effect of these in creating understanding and pity for Heathcliff.

Perhaps the most significant factor that makes us sympathize with Heathcliff is his troubled and problematic character. Two particular incidents highlight this point very well.
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Therefore, whatever Nelly thinks or feels about certain characters, especially sympathy for Heathcliff, the audience automatically will feel exactly the same.

In addition to Nelly’s narrative, Heathcliff himself becomes the main narrator on two separate occasions. This provides the audience with a rare and revealing insight into Heathcliff’s true feelings. These two incidents are the most significant factors that make the audience sympathize with Heathcliff. This is because throughout the novel, Heathcliff has no problem in expressing anger and violence to other characters, however, rarely shows the audience his other side. Moreover, these two chapters not only show us these emotions, but do it through his eyes, and not through Nelly’s. Chapter 6 shows the audience the mixture of feelings that fill Heathcliff’s heart. On one side there is this unflinching devotion towards Cathy, and the other a death willed hatred for Hindley. In this chapter, Heathcliff despises the way in which Edgar and Isabella fought over a ‘warm ball of hair’ and tells Nelly that he would never fight with Cathy in the manner the Linton’s did. On the other hand, Heathcliff also describes to Nelly the extreme hatred he feels for Hindley by saying that he would take pleasure in ‘painting the house-front with Hindley’s blood’. In addition, in chapter 33, yet another dimension of Heathcliff’s character is revealed in the most dramatic


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