Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. One of the original brooding romantic heroes, Heathcliff is a tragic character. Abandoned as a child and taken in by the Earnshaw family, he grows up abused and mistreated after the death of his foster father. However, he loves dearly his foster sister Catherine and she in turn loves him. But, as tempestuous love affairs often go, their love is doomed. Catherine is enticed by material things and, despite her love for Heathcliff, marries the wealthy Mr. Linton. Heathcliff, always a character prone to anger and violence due to his mean life and upbringing, becomes a bitter and haunted man. He so loved his Cathy that her betrayal smashes to pieces an already broken man. In this passage from Wuthering Heights, his utter despair is so evidenced:
You teach me now how cruel you've been — cruel and false!! Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you — they'll damn you. You loved me — then what right had you to leave me? What right — answer me — for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart — you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you——oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?