Look at me! I’m actually sticking to my word and posting more of my half-forgotten segment, Why I Love That Bad Guy! I am the Queen of sticking to … things.
Without further ado, let us explore the deliciously malevolent Heathcliff.
Origin: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
History: Heathcliff was found as a young gypsy boy, dark-skinned and dirty, and raised by the Earnshaw family of Wuthering Heights. Though his mysterious past is never fully explored, there are speculations that, due to the supernatural-esque style of the book, Heathcliff may, in fact, be a demon or some similar hellish creature.
Although she initially detests him, Catherine Earnshaw grows to like, and later love, Heathcliff. He, in turn, cherishes her, even after she falls for and marries Edgar Linton. His love continues long after she dies, and by the book’s end, he is a broken and bitter man, tortured by his beloved’s passing. He kills himself, and is later said to have been seen wandering the moors with Catherine by his side, together in an eternal life.
Why I Love Him:
- He is the classic, tortured Romantic “hero”, brought down by an all-consuming passion. Sexy…
- “Tall, dark and handsome” is a stereotype for a reason, people — IT WORKS.
- He is somehow both a hero and a villain. He is manipulative, scheming, complicated and heart-broken, but has one, all-important redeeming quality: love.
- He was portrayed, in the 1992 film Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, by Ralph Fiennes. Do you realise who that is?! That’s Lord-freaking-Voldemort, people! Worlds are colliding…
I Would Love Him More If…
- …he wasn’t such a tool to young Cathy, the daughter of Catherine and Edgar. After all, this is his beloved’s only child; she is all that remains of Catherine. Perhaps Heathcliff could have found peace if he’d treated her with a little kindness.
- …he were gentler to children and animals. Nobody likes a needlessly violent villain.
“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath–a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind–not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” — Catherine
Interesting Fact About Heathcliff:
When it comes to ambiguity, Heathcliff takes the cake. The reader never learns his real name, his true origins, or what he did during his three-year absence from Wuthering Heights. Well-played, Brontë. Well-played.
- Love The Bad Guy
Haven’t had a chance to read the other segments yet? Check them out!