Complex Changes Of Heathcliff And Dorian English Literature Essay
Firstly, in Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is noticed with big changes of both appearance and character after his love is betrayed by Catherine. At the beginning of the novel, Heathcliff who is brought to Wuthering Heights from Liverpool by Mr. Earnshaw is described as a dark and dirty foundling - “dark almost as if it [come] from the devil” (Bronte 31), “ dirty, ragged” (31). Evenly, he is referred to as "it"(30) and “gipsy brat” (31) in the Earnshaw household. Considering personality, Heathcliff is known as a many-faced character. He is a patient and tough child. “He would stand Hindley’s blows without winking or shedding a tear” (32). In addition, his starving and houseless childhood led to the character of nature, wide and hardened in Heathcliff. This is displayed when "Heathcliff [is] dangerously sick" (32), unlike the others, "he [is] as uncomplaining as a lamb"(33). He is also fiery and proud when requiring “[Hindley] must exchange horses with [him]: [he] don’t like [his horse]”. The next following years, Heathcliff falls in love with Catherine; Mr. Earnshaw dies. He is treated as a servant and suffered Hindley’s abuse. The flames of Heathcliff's revenge starts when he is treated tyrannical by Hindley, and flames up when he overhears the conversation between Catherine and Nelly. Because of social ambitions, Catherine claims that “It would degrade [her] to marry Heathcliff now” (68). Catherine’s betrayal of love destroyed the last hope in his heart, led him to run away and pursue his crazy vengeance. This detail is seen the turning point of Heathcliff’s life, which makes him changes all but his eternal love for Catherine. Three years pass, Heathcliff reappears as a powerful aristocrat. He is no longer a poor child. He becomes a villain driven by revenge with the facade of a gentleman: “a tall, athletic, well-formed man…his manner was even dignified: quite divested of roughness” (81). In these chapters, Heathcliff is known as a pitiless and violent demon - a villainous character. As in a letter to Nelly, Isabella wonders “Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?”(116), and once again Isabella reminds readers of his cruel features: “a tiger or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in [her] equal to that which he wakens” (123). Simultaneously, coming back with power and wealth, he plans for revenge. He acquires a fortune, the estate of Edgar Linton, kills Hindley and specially, after Catherine’s death, he take revenge on his next generation. His violence is also displayed when he hangs Isabella Linton's dog, “[seizes], and thrust [Isabella] from the room and returned mut-tering -’I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails!” (129). Finally, “the motivation of revenge had faded away because of the changing identity and the death of enemies” (docin.com). The novel’s conclusion by Heathcliff's death and the unit of young Catherine and Hareton is seen an appropriate ending, it contributes to resolve of past troubles.
Secondly, Dorian’s character in The Picture of Dorian Gray’s novel attracts readers by his significant changes after Sybil’s death. In the opening chapters, readers know Dorian Gray as an ideal archetype – a young and beautiful man. “He was certainly wonderfully handsome, with his finely-curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair” (Wilde 17). Considering personality, he seems kind. “One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world” (17). Besides, Dorian is innocent and pure. He does not self- consciousness of his beauty until listening Henry’s unique view and looking at Basil’s marvelous picture of his portrait. This is displayed when “he saw [the painting]…his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure” (24). Simultaneously, this is also the moment Dorian realizes that “he would become dreadful, hideous, and uncouth” while the painting will remain forever young (25). Therefore, he “wishes that the portrait could age in his stead” (sparknotes.com), and is willing to give his soul for beauty. The detail Dorian breaks Sybil’s heart reveals his superficiality and egoism. He just loves art and ignores Sybil’s emotion and thought. Therefore, when she “[is] a complete failure” on the stage (72), he decides to split up her. The turning point of Dorian’s life when marks the first change in Dorian’s portrait is Sybil’s death. After breaking his engagement with Sibyl, he returns home, and discovers that “[The picture] [is] certainly strange” with “a touch of cruelty in the mouth” (78). He remembers, “he had uttered a mad wish that he himself might remain young, and the portrait grow old” (78). This scares him because “the face on the canvas bear the burden of his pas-sions and his sins” (78). From that, Dorian confirms his changes that “[he has new passions, new thoughts, new ideas. [He is] different…[he is] changed” (94). After Dorian “decides to view Sibyl’s death as the achievement of an artistic ideal rather than a needless tragedy for which he is responsible” (sparknotes.com), “he falls deeper and deeper into corruption” (eng lit 22). He realizes ““his loathing of [the picture] was intensified” (102). His moral degradation becomes extreme when he murders Basil. He see “the face of his portrait leering in the sunlight”, and “what [is] that loathsome red dew that gleamed, wet and glisten-ing, on one of the hands, as though the canvas had sweated blood?” (147). The novel concludes with Dorian’s decision, which destroys the picture – the only evidence left proves his sin to conceal it forever.
In conclusion, Heathcliff and Dorian are the two most important characters of the two above novel.
1. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
2. Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. Pennsylvania State University, 2003.
3. English Literature Couse Book. College of Foreign Language and International Studies.
4. SparkNotes Editors. (2002). The Picture of Dorian Gray. Retrieved
November 16th, 2012, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/doriangray/canalysis.html
5. A Brief Analysis of Heathcliff’s Characters in Wuthering Heights. Retrieved November 16th, 2012, from http://www.docin.com/p-88773714.html
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