Written in the 19th century, the concepts explored within “Wuthering Heights” would be terrifying towards its audience. The 19th century was an age whereby there was a huge expansion of the British Empire; therefore there was a lot of new cultural difference introduced into Britain at this time. Therefore the concept of the “other” would have been one which was unfamiliar, and unaccepted to a 19th century audience.
Our protagonist and “gothic hero” Heathcliff is a character which would have scared a society and this is symbolised by his degrading treatment by all those who are considered as “normal”. The “unreclaimed creature” is immediately dehumanised through his descriptions as “it”, and is immediately victimised by all the other characters within the stories. Catherine “spits” at him and Hindley often strikes him. But I think it is Heathcliff’s “dark” skin tone arguably scares his companions into acting in such a way.
Like other dark figures such as Othello in Shakespeares “Othello” Heathcliff posses the capability to love a “thousand” times better than Edgar Linton, thus suggesting that he posses the capability to love a thousand times better than us, the audience. He is what Freud described as a monumental figure- he is larger than life. His capability to love like a God causes us to immediately denounce him into an “imp of Satan”, a “devil daddy” and practically shove him into the category of the sub- human.
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This is simply because we as humans want to see ourselves as the best and like God; Catherine for example assumes herself as entering “heaven”. However she even acknowledges the supernatural capabillity of Heathcliff describing his love as the “eternal rocks beneath” even though there is no “visible delight”. This only leads to the angels “flinging” her out of Heaven because of their anger and onto the Heights- the dwelling of Heathcliff. Her infatuation with this “black villain” only proves that h e is greater than the normal and the ordinary i. e. the British therefore us.
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