Characters of Catherine and Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

Characters of Catherine and Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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The Characters of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights

 
    Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights can be considered a Gothic romance or an essay on the human relationship. The reader may regard the novel as a serious study of human problems such as love and hate, or revenge and jealousy. One may even consider the novel Bronte's personal interpretation of the universe. However, when all is said and done, Heathcliff and Catherine are the story. Their powerful presence permeates throughout the novel, as well as their complex personalities. Their climatic feelings towards each other and often selfish behavior often exaggerates or possibly encapsulates certain universal psychological truths humans are too afraid to express. Heathcliff and Catherine's stark backgrounds evolve respectively into dark personalities and mistaken life paths, but in the end their actions determine the course of their own relationships and lives. Their misfortunes, recklessness, willpower, and destructive passion are unable to penetrate the eternal love they share.

 

Heathcliff's many-faceted existence is marked by wickedness, love, and strength. His dark actions are produced by the distortion of his natural personality. Although Heathcliff was once subjected to vicious racism due to his dark skin color and experienced wearisome orphan years in Liverpool, this distortion had already begun when Mr. Earnshaw brought him into Wuthering Heights, a "dirty, ragged, black-haired child"(45; ch.7). Already he was inured to hardship and uncomplainingly accepted suffering. Heathcliff displays his strength and steadfastness when he had the measles, and when Hindley treated him cruelly if he got what he wanted. From the very beginning he showed great co...


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...of the novel? Or is revenge the central and recurring idea? Is Bronte proposing that as humans we have the right to meddle with the cosmic, dark and questioning universe just as Catherine and Heathcliff manipulated with their own lovers and family? Perhaps it is simply a book about characters, each to his own, meandering through puddles, with cloudy morals and mistaken ideals. With a darkness within and beauty without, stumbling back and forth a two-mile stretch of land searching for something they've had all along. Maybe it's a book about reality.

 

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed.  The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B.  Compact ed.  New York: Longman - Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Bronte, Emily.  Wuthering Heights. Norton Critical ed.  3rd ed.      Ed. William M. Sale, Jr., and Richard J. Dunn.  New York:  W. W. Norton, 1990.

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