Heathcliff - Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be...

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“Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be spread: For Love is dead.” - Sir Phillip Sydney - “A Litany” Love Deep Under Love extends over the lover’s death: death only ends the person’s eternal being. Heathcliff, the protagonist of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights , experiences the biting consequences of his love to Catherine, a woman higher on the social hierarchy than Heathcliff, when Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine’s brother, refuses Heathcliff’s marriage proposal; Heathcliff’s unrequited love evolves to a taste for revenge, which, when he executes it, frames Heathcliff into the archetype of the Byronic hero. Brontë first establishes Heathcliff’s dark background in order to create the conditions for revenge. When Mr. Earnshaw, Catherine’s father, brings home a dirty Gypsy boy, he remonstrates he cannot endure “seeing” the kid “starving in the streets”, so he “take[s] it home” (33; Chapter 4). From Mr. Earnshaw discreet attitude expressed in “taking” an orphan home and not enduring the orphan’s sight, the children feel suspicious but hesitate to question Mr. Earnshaw’s honesty; to them, bringing home an orphan hints at the father bearing an illegitimate child home. Their implicit dislike of Heathcliff invokes Heathcliff’s will to revenge the family later in his life. The author Brontë, through the phrase “starving in the streets”, elicits the empathy of the readers by associating the phrase with Heathcliff’s need for a home. Later in the novel, Heathcliff falls in love with Catherine, one of the Earnshaw’s
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children, who dreams to marry Heathcliff. But Catherine’s brother Hindley denies her the privilege: he cites Heathcliff’s poor childhood as the reason. Catherine discusses her love with Mrs. Dean, the Earnshaw’s housekeeper: “Nelly, I am Heathcliff! My love for him” resembles the “eternal rocks” (77; Chapter 9). The verb “am” in
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2011 for the course ENGL 10203 taught by Professor Lemon during the Spring '09 term at TCU.

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Heathcliff - Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be...

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