"My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff" (81)" These words, uttered by Catherine, in the novel Wuthering Heights are for me the starting point in my investigation into the themes of love and obsession in the novel. Catherine has just told her housekeeper that she has made up her mind to marry Edgar Linton, although she is well aware that her love for him is bound to change as time passes. That she is obsessed by her love for Heathcliff she confirms in the above quotation and by saying that she will never, ever be separated from him. Why does she not marry him then? Well, she has another obsession too: she does not want to degrade herself by marrying him. Instead she thinks that by wedding Linton she can aid Heathcliff to rise.
Heathcliff, who has been ill-treated by his foster brother Hindley, is obsessed by his thoughts of revenge: "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!" (64).He comes back after three years, during which time nobody at Wuthering Heights or The Grange have known his whereabouts, and the first person he is eager to meet is Catherine. She reacts with a mixture of fright and passion, and accuses Heathcliff of being cruel as he has not been heard of for such a long time. His joy to see her again is unmistakable: "A little more than you have thought of me," he murmured "I heard of your marriage, Cathy, not long since; and, while waiting in the yard below, I meditated this plan: - just to have one glimpse of your face, a stare of surprise, perhaps, ...
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...s dream and calls her a minx, Heathcliff cannot control his vehement emotions. When he realizes that his life is coming to an end he carries through his will to be buried in the same grave as the woman he loved so fervently.
My conclusion is that in this novel the themes of love and obsession are interconnected. The love between Catherine and Heathcliff runs all through the story, and that love is the reason for Heathcliff's obsession to have his revenge. He never got over being rejected by her. And he never stopped loving Catherine as long as he lived: "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" (148).
Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. Penguin Popular Classics, 1994.
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