Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is a classic soap opera type drama of infatuation and deceit. Brontë advances the plot of this story in several different ways. Perhaps the most effective method and indeed the most vital parts of this story are the characters. Of all the characters of this story, Catherine and Heathcliff stand out the most. There are many similarities as well as many differences between these two characters. The two characteristics most commonly shared by Catherine and Heathcliff are love, although sometimes it's hard to tell if it really is love, and selfishness and conceitedness, so extreme at times that it is hard not to get irritated with the novel. The mixture of the love and selfishness of these two characters proves to be fatal.
Time and again Catherine's extreme selfishness and conceitedness are put on display. Whether it is through deceit or betrayal, Catherine's selfishness plays an important role in almost every situation she is involved in. Perhaps due to the environments that she was exposed to growing up, Catherine becomes very conceited and selfish as a child. After returning from a stay with the Lintons, Catherine is even worse. Brontë shows, "Our young lady returned to us, saucier, and more passionate, and haughtier than ever" (65). Catherine's actions were often governed by her extreme selfishness. In fact, her marriage with Edgar Linton was almost entirely based around what she would get out of it. In a conversation with Nelly, Catherine demonstrates this in saying, "...He will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband," she tells Nelly (57). She has only married for m...
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... similar in this aspect. Catherine would not have even been in her death bed had she not acted so selfishly with her husband and Heathcliff.
This timeless novel is one of love and deceit. The main characters of Catherine and Heathcliff never cease to amaze as their extreme selfishness ruins every situation they are involved in. When reading this book, it is easy to get lost in how dismal things are; however, by the end, the book does teach a lesson. Wuthering Heights demonstrates many things. Though the characters of this book were far exaggerated, and at times frustrating, they teach a very distinct lesson. Love is not meant to be selfish, and if it is, it will never work. The selfish love of Catherine and Heathcliff causes almost every conflict in this book.
Charlotte Brontë. Wuthering Heights. New York: TOR Books, 1989.
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