Wuthering Heights Analysis

Cathy and Catherine

Catherine is Earnshaw’s daughter and Heathcliff’s lover. She is arrogant and is also described to have some intense and passionate love for Heathcliff to the extent of near obsession. Despite the love that she has for Heathcliff, she has desires to advance socially, and thus cannot marry Heathcliff due to his low social status, as well as a lack of education. She gets married to Edgar Linton, instead. Her social desire and love for Heathcliff is a source of misery to her, and a source of misery to the men as well, as they grow to hate each other. Cathy is Catherine’s daughter with Edgar. Owing to Edgar’s influence and pampering, Cathy is not as arrogant as her mother. She is depicted as having more compassion and is gentler. Cathy, in the novel is clearly differentiated from the mother in the statement “for she could be soft and mild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive expression: her anger was never furious; her love never fierce: it was deep and tender” (Bronte, 302). Catherine was temperamental while Cathy was more compassionate as well as selfless.

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Heathcliff and Edgar Linton

The characters, Heathcliff and Edgar Linton are rivals, an attitude that is initiated by their love for Catherine. Their love towards Catherine, in the first place, brings out their differences in character very clearly. Heathcliff is obsessed with her lover and does not show the commitment vital for their relationship to work. Edgar, on the other hand, is committed and ensures that his lover, Catherine is secure, safe, and comfortable. In the book, it is said that “Mr. Edgar had a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humor” (Bronte 145). Edgar portrays tenderness though his eventual status of being non-emotional makes him lose his wife, family, and property. Heathcliff is monstrous in his dealings. As a subsequent reaction to being earlier ostracized from the family, and working as a servant, he treats people in a very inhuman way, unlike Edgar. Heathcliff’s character is evident in his concurrent desire for revenge on everyone who has wronged him and the additional sadistic mistreatment of Isabella. This is asserted by Heathcliff himself “in my experiments on what she could endure, and still creep shamefully cringing back!” (Bronte 243). The revenge is evidenced in the excerpt, as he speaks of Hindley; “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!” (Bronte 95)

Hareton and Hindley

Hindley is Catherine’s brother, and Hareton, his son. Hindley is displayed as a very mean character, especially in the manner that he behaves towards Heathcliff. His dislike towards Heathcliff is evident in “A few words from her, evincing a dislike to Heathcliff, were enough to rouse in him all his old hatred of the boy” (Bronte 71), a statement that displays his tyrannical character.  Hindley’s vengeful behavior is evident in his treatment of Heathcliff when it is stated that “He has been blaming our father (how dared he?) for treating H. too liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place” (Bronte, 35). The statement clearly indicates how he intends to mistreat Heathcliff. Hareton, on the other hand, is the opposite of his father. Despite being mistreated, he maintains his calm. Hareton is the person who transforms the vengeance rampant in the family to that of compassion. This assertion is evident in the claim that “His honest, warm, and intelligent nature shook off rapidly the clouds of ignorance and degradation in which it had been bred” (Bronte 514). Despite the humiliation that he went through, Hareton reveals a good heart, a desire to be the best, and improve himself, a feat that he achieves by inheriting the house and getting some education.

Being Understanding and Forgiving

In Wuthering Heights, the first generation was characterized by revenge, mistreatment of the weak and innocent and overall disregard for humanity. The second generation shunned this behavior and embraced understanding, forgiveness, and eventual happiness in their families. The best example is depicted by Hareton, who showcased a loving and compassionate attitude despite the harsh conditions and atrocities he experienced at his childhood. It is stated that he chose to relinquish his past pains of being ignored and degraded, and instead exemplifying honesty as well as warmth. Hareton and Cathy also showcase forgiveness when they overcome their anger and arguments, thereby fostering a stable relationship in their marriage. The two characters, Hareton and Cathy, are the epitome of happiness that engrosses the family as their marriage becomes characterized by kindness as opposed to the drama and abuses witnessed in the first generation. Their happiness amid problems that they overcame is evident in the statement “The intimacy thus commenced grew rapidly; though it encountered temporary interruptions.” (Bronte 506). The statement indicates that there were evident problems in their marriage, which did not affect the way they lived with passion and intimacy. Hareton is therefore symbolic of the second generation’s change in attitude.


Works Cited

Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1870. Print.