Heathcliff's Repayment

     From the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontė, and the 1939 film, one might assume that Heathcliff would be the villain. I say way to go, Heathcliff. To be perfectly honest, I detest love stories; however, Heathcliff takes it to a whole new level. Not only does he seek out revenge on damn near everyone, but also he actually succeeds in making the majority miserable. Does this make him the villain? In my opinion, NO, this does not make him a villain but rather adds a little twist to an otherwise typical love story. I really do not think anyone could have portrayed the Heathcliff character better than Laurence Olivier, who played him in William Wyler's film.

     For all the Heathcliff antagonists, think for one minute what both the novel and film would be like without the Heathcliff character. From the beginning, I got the impression of one more typical sentimental love story. However, by book's end, I found myself really rooting for the Heathcliff character. Think of how this poor man was treated. Not only was he forced to work as a servant, but also his one true love ended up marrying another man. That is enough to piss off anyone, maybe not to the extreme Heathcliff took things, but would we not want to if given the chance?

     The majority of the opposition would argue that Catherine (Merle Oberon on screen) never stopped loving Heathcliff. This may be true. Yet she went and married another man. True, many men and women have distinct ways of showing their love, but marrying another man? She may have loved Heathcliff, but not to the extent most believe, at least in my opinion. But once again that is just another twist which Emily Brontė adds to the novel. Without this, there would be no Heathcliff revenge.

     To sum it all up, Heathcliff gets his revenge. He takes over Wuthering Heights, as well as Thrushcross Grange; he marries Isabella (acted by Geraldine Fitzgerald), who is his rival's sister, and knocks her up. Could there possibly be a more revengeful circumstance than knocking up one's rival's sister? But once again, this goes to the brilliance of the Heathcliff character.

Erin Eagleson

Table of Contents