Characters / Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff

  • Abusive Father: To Linton and Hareton.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Heathcliff's exact race is never explained; he is referred to as "dark" and a "gipsy."
    • From his description as a "dark-skinned gypsy", one can surmise that he may possibly have East European/Romanian or Romani roots, due to "gypsy" (and any other variations) coming from the early West European pejorative/racist term used for Romani and East European people.
  • Bastard Bastard: Whether or not Mr. Earnshaw is his actual father, he has the status of a bastard; note that he has no surname.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Edgar Linton's Betty.
  • Byronic Hero
  • The Chessmaster
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Cathy, though it is a very dark one.
  • Dark and Troubled Past/Freudian Excuse: He was taken in as a starving orphan and then bullied by his adoptive brother (and later legal guardian) Hindley for most of his childhood.
  • Dark Is Evil: His dark skin, hair, and eyes are often portrayed by the book as a Red Right Hand reflecting his darkness of soul.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Death by Despair: According to Nellie Dean.
  • Did Not Get the Girl
  • Domestic Abuse: He's emotionally and sexually abusive to Isabella during their marriage.
  • Driven to Suicide
  • Evil Gloating
  • Evil Orphan: He was abandoned as a small child, and he's very evil.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Through a combination of forced marriages, alcohol and bribery, Heathcliff becomes the master of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange despite not being a blood member of the Earnshaw or Linton families.
  • Genre Savvy
  • It's All About Me: It's debatable whether he is an example of this or not, since he doesn't really care if most others are happy, but still very much gravitates around people. When he cannot center his life around being with Cathy, he starts obsessing over getting revenge on everyone.
  • Jerk Ass: Prone to sadistically hurting people who have nothing to do with his vengeance and enjoying it.
  • Lack of Empathy: He very often expresses his bewilderment at people who imagine that he will adopt a perfectly understandable and legitimate behavior towards them.
  • Love Makes You Crazy / Love Makes You Evil: His all-consuming obsession with Catherine drives him to commit evil acts.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Masochism Tango: He and Catherine delight in emotionally hurting each other out of jealousy. In the scene in which they passionately embrace, they also delight in physically hurting each other. Heathcliff grips Catherine's arm so tightly that he leaves bruises, while Catherine tightly clasps his hair.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Heathcliff', which brings to mind the wild and unrestrained natural setting of the moors.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Found on the streets of Liverpool at age seven by Mr. Earnshaw and the man brought him home.
  • Mysterious Past: For all of Heathcliff's life that we do know, he's still made of this trope. We don't know anything about his early years, to age seven or so, or why he couldn't speak English when he first came to the Heights or what his name might have been before that time. The mystery only deepens in the three years he spends away from the Heights and somehow has made himself so rich in that time that he's bought the house from under Hindley's nose.
  • Only One Name: His name is Heathcliff Heathcliff, since his parentage and surname are unknown.
  • Perpetual Frowner
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: He ruins the lives of the Earnshaws and Lintons, but draws no joy from his victories and dies a bitter, empty man.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Can come across as this due to his tendencies for Revenge by Proxy, Lack of Empathy, and general sadism, even towards those who have nothing to do with his revenge. Just ask Isabella's dog.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He is strongly implied to have raped Isabella during their short marriage.
  • Revenge by Proxy
  • Scary Black Man: The 1991 edition's illustrations depict him as one, towering over an intimidated Hareton and Cathy Junior. Whilst the novel explicitly points out that he's not 'a regular black', it does repeatedly mention how sinister and intimidating his dark skin, hair, and eyes make him look.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  • Self-Made Man
  • Shadow Archetype: To Edgar Linton.
  • The Rival: To both Edgar Linton and Hindley Earnshaw.
  • The Sociopath: He's manipulative, sadistic, and devoid of empathy.
  • Start of Darkness
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: When Catherine said her Anguished Declaration of Love to Nelly, Heathcliff, who had been eavesdropping, only heard the part where Catherine says that Heathcliff would "degrade her." This prompts the embittered Heathcliff, who believed he had been rejected by the person he cared about most, to leave Wuthering Heights and disappear for three years, returning wealthy and hell—bent on ruling both the Earnshaw and Linton families.
  • Tragic Villain: While Heathcliff is a sociopathic monster, parts of his story are tragic. He was abandoned as a small child, adopted into a family with several members who were ambivalent about his presence, constantly treated as inferior due to his skin color and ancestry, and unable to marry the woman he longed for.
  • Together in Death: With Catherine. Some people can see them walking together as ghosts.
  • The Unfettered: There's no action he won't stoop to ruin the Earnshaws and Lintons.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When he sees Catherine (II) and Hareton falling in love.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Nobody knows who actually were his parents. According to some critics he may have been Mr. Earnshaw's illegitimate son.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: After experiencing abandonment and discrimination throughout his childhood, Heathcliff proceeds to ruin the Earnshaws and Lintons.

Catherine Earnshaw-Linton

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed - the love between Catherine and Heathcliff is passionate, but it is also clearly unhealthy and intensely destructive, leading to nothing but the ruin of the lovers and almost everyone around them.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Her famous "I am Heathcliff!" speech to Nellie Dean. Too bad Heathcliff leaves before he can hear it.
  • Brain Fever
  • Death by Despair
  • Death by Childbirth
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Moreso as her love for Heathcliff leads to Sanity Slippage.
  • Genki Girl: At least until the residents of Thrushcross Grange get hold of her.
  • Hysterical Woman: Driven to this towards the middle of the novel, going as far as searching for Heathcliff across the moors during a storm which causes her to catch a fever and die.
  • It's All About Me: Well, since Heathcliff is the only one she has any deep-seated interest for and she basically says she is him (and probably wants to identify entirely with him; see below), she may be a literal example. She is initially as abusive as her brother is towards Heathcliff, then manipulates Linton, doesn't care about the health of her brother, her sister-in-law, or poor Nelly, to whom she is very much a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk.
  • Jerk Ass: Her selfish desire to try and have everything destroys two families across several generations. Worse, she knows what both what Heathcliff is capable of and what her actions are bringing about, but refuses to change.
  • The Lost Lenore
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Her love for Heathcliff is passionate but incredibly unhealthy and twisted, and eventually consumes her with insanity. Pauline Nestor's introduction to the novel argues that her desire for total identification with the object of her love ('I am Heathcliff!' rather than 'I love Heathcliff') represents a regression to childlike lack of identity, also shown by her failing to recognise her own reflection in a mirror just before she dies. Catherine's love is so insane that it basically destroys her entire identity and personality.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Her desire to have her cake and eat it (marrying Edgar for money and status while keeping Heathcliff on the side) ultimately leads to her own death and Heathcliff's descent into madness and need for revenge.
  • The Ophelia
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: In contrast with the blonde and delicate Lintons, the Earnshaws are described as being dark haired and robust.
  • She's All Grown Up
  • Spoiled Bratnote 
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Heathcliff.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: the tomboy to Isabella's girly girl.

Hindley Earnshaw

Catherine's older brother and after his father's death, the owner of Wuthering Heights.

  • Abusive Parents: Nellie hides Hindley's young son whenever Hindley is drunk, due to the man's violent and unpredictable behavior.
  • The Alcoholic
    • Alcoholic Parent: Due to his drinking, he barely notice his son and was about to accidentally kill him.
  • Aloof Older Brother: He and Catherine are not particularly close.
  • Asshole Victim: If you subscribe to the theory that Hindley is murdered by Heathcliff.
  • The Bully: He bullied Heathcliff when Heathcliff was a child.
  • Dramatic Irony: Heathcliff's later treatment of his son Hareton mirrors the way Hindley himself treats Heathcliff when his father dies and he inherits the estate.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Hindley's death occurs off-page but is assumed to be a result of his drunkenness. Only Heathcliff is said to be with him when he dies and it is implied that he gambles away ownership of Wuthering Heights to the latter during this period.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After his wife's death in childbirth. Its also strongly implied that Heathcliff encourages this.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He refrains from drinking on the day of Catherine's funeral, out of respect for his sister.
  • Happily Married: To Frances until she dies.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: For some readers, the manner of his death.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: A very inadequate heir to the Earnshaw estate.
  • Jerkass: His treatment of Heathcliff is largely what shapes the latter into the cruel and bitter person of the second half of the novel.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!
  • Sibling Rivalry: Hindley hates Heathcliff because his father preferred Heathcliff to him.
  • The Unfavorite

Edgar Linton

Isabella Linton-Heathcliff

Nellie Dean

Mr. Lockwood

  • Butt Monkey
  • Character Development: He's pretty much the only character in the book to actually learn something from the events of the past.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Mr. Lockwood acts as the narrator for the first part of the book, even though he is not the main character.
  • Genre Savvy: He seems to anticipate Cathy and Hareton's later relationship.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Played with; he's inclined to think of Heathcliff as a "capital fellow" because he wants his landlord to be antisocial and reclusive. After hearing Nellie's full story, he seems to have a highly critical opinion of Heathcliff, but he doesn't do anything about it as he owes him six-month's rent.
    • Tellingly, he also has a very high (and accurate) opinion of Hareton Earnshaw, when everyone else considers him an uncultured lout, because he notices Hareton being torn between loyalty to Heathcliff and Cathy.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Combined with an early Horrible Judge of Character—he thinks Heathcliff is a "fine gentleman" at first!
  • Only One Name
  • Only Sane Man: To an extent. Though he seems to be very much an intended meta-Butt Monkey.
  • Refusal of the Call: Nellie tries to set him up as young Cathy's savior, but he's smart enough to know a romance between the two of them wouldn't work.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon learning the full extent of Heathcliff's amorality, he curtly decides to leave.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality

Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw

Linton Heathcliff

  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: It's never quite stated, but he seems to have decided to Jump Off The Slippery Slope and has gone from jerk to sociopath during his stay at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is strongly implied to have brutalized him.
  • Child by Rape: This was strongly implied to be how he was conceived.
  • Daddy Issues: Oh, boy... Who wouldn't have issues with a father like Heathcliff?
  • Dirty Coward: This is how he manages to mic his parents' worst traits, and his apparent motivation for obeying Heathcliff, but there is actually more to it. His behavior seems to be partly motivated by a genuine pleasure taken in hurting others, or seeing Heathcliff hurt them.
  • Domestic Abuse: His plans for Cathy.
  • Ill Boy: Even as a child, he's weak and sickly.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: A filial version. He loves to see Heathcliff beat his horses...
  • Jerk Ass: From the moment we meet him, although Nelly quickly wonders if he isn't simply a traumatized child...
  • Kissing Cousins: With Cathy as his father did set up.
  • Momma's Boy: But who can blame him?
  • Pretty Boy: The description seems to present him as this at first.
  • Spoiled Brat
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He looks just like his uncle Edgar, another reason his father doesn't like him.
  • Two Last Names

Hareton Earnshaw


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/WutheringHeights