Ambuiguity And Contradiction In Wuthering Heights

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Sean Smith Ms. Chalmers AP English Language 3A January 30, 2012 “Ambiguity and Contradiction Essay: Wuthering Heights” In the novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, the main character Heathcliff, who is an orphan gypsy that Mr. Earnshaw brings home with him, is vividly portrayed as a despicably malevolent human being who we are still able to have sympathy for. Bronte evokes an ambiguity through the character Heathcliff by the fact that he is not a clear villain or hero so the reader is unclear of Heathcliff’s intentions in the novel; does he want revenge on Hindley for forbidding him and Catherine for seeing each other and treating him terribly or is he strictly focused on his pursuit of Catherine until she dies and even after when he is haunted by her ghost. Also the author shows a contradiction in Heathcliff’s character. When he is betrayed by Catherine when she marries Edgar instead of himself we feel pity for him. On the contrary when he locks up Nelly and Cathy we see him as an evil villain attempting to fulfill his malevolent plan of revenge. What is trying to be said is that Bronte through the deep character of Heathcliff evokes ambiguity and contradiction through his intentions, the blurred lines that make him a hero or a villain and lastly the contradiction of either pity or anger the reader feels towards Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. To begin with, Bronte effectively evokes uncertainty through the fact that Heathcliff wants to be with Catherine but at the same time wants to exact his revenge on Hindley for separating him from Catherine and making his life childhood miserable. The ambiguity is shown by Bronte is the fact that the reader does not know whether Heathcliff’s intentions have sincere or malicious intent. For instance, when Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights and returns a reformed man with exceptional manners, the reader is

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