Explain how the gothic motif of good vs. evil is presented in Wuthering Heights, Macbeth and Frankenstein. The motif of good vs. evil is represented in Wuthering Heights, Macbeth and Frankenstein. Firstly, in Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, the juxtaposition of the settings may be considered as good and evil. Wuthering Heights is depicted to signify the ‘evil’ in comparison to Thrushcross Grange. This is because in the first dwelling, ‘Wuthering’ is used to connote the atmosphere of the location.
As ‘Wuthering’ connotes an extremely windy and turbulent area, it suggests that the inhabitants within the household lead chaotic lives. In addition, the isolated and exposed setting reflects upon the persona of characters such as Heathcliff. Essentially, Heathcliff’s character replicates the isolated and derelict setting. This is because his character is isolated and tormented by certain individuals in the novel, most prominently Hindley.
Which is evident after Heathcliff is introduced since Hindley immediately begins the cycle of revenge by mistreating Heathcliff through abuse ‘imp of Satan’; the harsh language may suggests that Heathcliff is of evil blood and is descended from the devil as ‘imp’ defines a ‘little devil/demon’. Hindley’s negative behaviour portrays him as the ‘evil’ in this case as he may have been jealous of his father loving an orphan child more than himself.
Though Heathcliff may be regarded as an ‘evil’ character in wuthering Heights, we must highlight that he has attempted to be a better person. Though Heathcliff wishes to change only his appearance ‘I wish I had light hair and fair skin, and was dressed and behaved well’ connotes that Heathcliff does intend to be a better person ‘behaved well’ However it can be argued that the situation of being an orphan and having unfair treatment ultimately lead him to become a ruthless and heartless character later on in the novel.
On the other hand it can be assumed that the unsuccessful relationship with Cathy’s character had lead him to be the character he was towards the end of the novel, thus Cathy’s death had a significantly negative effect on Heathcliff’s character which may show that he’s character was evil. The novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley also displays evidence of good vs. evil. It may be considered that Victor Frankenstein’s character is both evil and good. However this is dependant on the part of the novel.
For example, during the beginning of the novel when we are introduced to Victor’s character we depict him to be a perfectly respectable and virtuous man. This is because of his intellect and strong bonds with family. Nevertheless, acknowledgement of the obscure and darker side to Victor is represented when he sought out to destroy death and find the elixir of life. Victor’s evil is displayed through his urge to be in level with God ‘ I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter’.
As Victor states his capability of creating life ‘bestowing animation’ it emphasises upon his desire to be godlike. Though it may be thought that Victor did not want to seek the maximum power of God at this time, I may be acknowledged that his ambition lead him to attempt to aid society by completely disregarding morale and ethics of religion and human nature. Another protagonist who portrays both evil and good roles is by Macbeth’s character. Like Heathcliff and Victor Macbeth’s character starts off heroic, however this is then corrupted by thirst of power.
A ‘good’ character in the play, may be considered to be Duncan’s character. It is through Duncan’s generosity what we acknowledge ‘Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name’ this shows that Macbeth is a noble and courageous individual who has earned whatever he has received through hard work and dedication. Essentially Duncan’s statement about Macbeth juxtaposes all the following actions he makes in the play. Though Macbeth is brave in committing the murderous deeds, it can be argued that Macbeth no longer fulfils his crime in honour of his country, but for his own selfish desires.