The Suffering of the Women in Wuthering Heights

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The Suffering of the Women in Wuthering Heights

It appears that Catherine's expectations are unrealistic especially

when placed in the historical context. The novel is written during the

Victorian era where the role of women in relation to marriage was that

they were to be obedient, disciplined and faithful to their husband.

Catherine does not fulfil any of these roles in the long term.

Firstly, she marries Edgar for social and financial benefits. She

becomes aware that she belongs to a social class when she and

Heathcliff view life in Thrushcross Grange 'It was beautiful-a

splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs and

tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of


Catherine had a treatment of the luxurious lifestyle at Thrushcross

Grange, that had been neglected under Hindley's running of the house

and wants to maintain this standard of living. Consequently, she

marries Edgar because 'he is handsome, and young, and cheerful, and

rich' even though she is aware that her deepest feelings of love

belong with Heathcliff 'My love for Linton is like the foliage in the

woods. Time will change it. My love for Heathcliff resembles the

eternal rocks beneath-a sources of little visible delight, but

necessary'. It is this necessity of love that makes Catherine suffer.

It is understandable that Catherine marries Edgar to improve her

quality of life, as there would be few alternatives to do this, as

women had no career prospects.

However, Catherine's marries Edgar not only for her benefit but

because 'If I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff and place him out of

my brother's power'

It is here that Catherine has unrealistic expectations although her


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...d sympathy for

Isabella because even Heathcliff warns her to some extent 'he stared

hard at the object of discourse (Isabella), as one might do at a

strange repulsive animal'. It seems that Isabella wilfully misreads

the signals because she has a romantic illusion that she can tame the

broody character into a loving one 'It is deplorable ignorance of his

character which makes that dream enter your head. Pray, don' imagine

that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern

exterior!' as Catherine says from experience.

Moreover, Isabella gave birth to Linton, who is another character that

is tended to be disliked. Linton represents the weak and feeble

characteristics that are apparent in his mother and Edgar, which lead

to further suffering especially under comparison with the strong and

cunning characteristics in Heathcliff and Cathy.
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