Wuthering Heights Heathcliff Personality Essay

11 November 2016

Personality Heathcliff is one of the main characters in the renowned novel, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. Heathcliff is such a memorable character due to his unique personality and how he approaches and engages conflicts in his life. Whether Heathcliff’s actions spark sympathy or lead to disappointment with his conduct, some characteristics of his personality do seem to stand out throughout the novel. Traits such as his unwillingness to forgive those for events in the past, his selfish nature, or even the deep emotion that emerges through this seemingly dark figure.

In the novel Heathcliff is betrayed by those around him. He is forced to do servant duties by Hindley, who he lives with for many years. As if this is not degrading enough, he begins to lose the love of his life, Catherine, because Heathcliff can no longer provide her with the luxurious life to which she is accustomed. This betrayal probably is what caused him to develop his unforgiving nature, especially since it causes dramatic alterations to his lifestyle, cripples his chances for a successful future, and leaves him emotionally distraught.

In chapter 7 of the novel Heathcliff says, “I’m trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don’t care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. ” This quote shows the grudge he holds against Hindley and his unwillingness to forgive him. Quotes like these can be plucked out from various chapters in the novel, but they all reveal the same thing about Heathcliff. No matter whether it has been a week or years, he seems to hold his grudges and be unable to forgive.

Another trait that Heathcliff exhibits throughout the novel is his selfish side. I believe this side emerges hand in hand with his unforgiving nature. I think when his world is crashing down around him he decides that he is the only person he can trust and he developes a fear of building a bond that can be severed leading him to be selfish. This selfishness is also reflected in his love affairs as he yearns to be with Catherine once again, not for her own good but simply because he cannot live happily without her.

This trait is reflected well when Heathcliff exclaims, “Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on. ” This quote shows that he could care less if Catherine is able to rest. Instead Heathcliff wants to assure that Catherine will not be freed from her internal conflict before Heathcliff is able to put to rest his own emotional battles. Although many of the traits that Heathcliff is guilty of possessing are on the negative side, he does show great love and emotion in some portions of the novel.

This is the side of Heathcliff’s personality that can really make one feel sympathy for him, as it seems that his deep love probably contributes to his negative side. Heathcliff so desperately wants Catherine to return to him that he can hardly live through a day without his emotional tornado wrecking his relations with others. Heathcliff really shows that he wants nothing more than Catherine’s love when he confesses to her his feelings even while she is married. If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime he couldn’t love you as much as I do in a single day. ” The fact that Heathcliff is completely unable to move on and get over his feelings for Catherine really display his emotional nature. Heathcliff is one of those characters that will only be fully understood by the person who created the character. For everyone else there will always be room for discussion and disagreements concerning the unforgiving, selfish, yet desperately emotional personality of Heathcliff.


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