A Byronic hero is defined by Thomas B. Macaulay according to The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Oxford University Press, New York, 1985) as "proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart … implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection."This definition fits the main character Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights".Heathcliff is also a man who has sinned in his life, a man who lives to find revenge, and, yet, a man who the reader is (at times) capable of feeling sorry for.
For these reasons, Heathcliff is a perfect example of a Byronic hero. One finds themselves feeling sorry for Heathcliff from the beginning of the book.Heathcliff arrives at Wuthering Heights as a boy after having been orphaned.Immediately the young gypsy finds himself being picked on by Hindley, who feels like he is competing with Heathcliff for his father's attention.From the very beginning, however, Heathcliff is described with such words as "dark" and a "fiend".
Nonetheless, the boy was picked on badly by his stepbrother throughout his early years at Wuthering Heights.As he advances in age, the young man falls madly in love with Catherine, his stepsister.Despite his love, however, Catherine eventually gets married to a man, named Edgar Linton, who had more money and statue.Heathcliff he deeply hurt by this, and never recovers.After Catherine's death, he turns even worse and begins to abuse all of those around him.His misery and cruelty spreads to everybody within his reach.Many years later, Heathcliff dies a lonely and sad man. Heathcliff spends much of his time considering different ways he can get revenge on those who have hurt him.He wants to find revenge in two ways. Thefirst way is by hurting the children of those who hurt him.For example, he is quite cruel to Hareton Earnshaw, the son of Hindley.In…
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