The Strive for Apollonian and Daemonic Balance Within Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights

Topics: Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë, Catherine Earnshaw Pages: 4 (1313 words) Published: December 3, 2007
Throughout literature, characters have allowed their head to overrule their heart, while others let their heart shine above their logic. These two mindsets can be described as Apollonian and Daemonic. As described by Paglia, Apollonian characteristics include the need to control nature's chaos, explain tragedy, keep to the order of things, and stress the importance of status. Daemonic characteristics entail embracing chaotic and unreasonable emotion, such as love and hate. Emily Brontë's, Wuthering Heights, presents the two internal conflicts with the characters Heathcliff, Edgar, Catherine, Hareton, and Cathy. Emily stages the extremes of each conflict with Heathcliff as the major daemonic character, and Edgar as the apollonian. In the end, one person cannot entail all of one of these conflicts and survive happily; a person needs balance like Hareton and Cathy. The apollonian Edgar and the daemonic Heathcliff create emotional conflict for the torn Catherine in Wuthering Heights, while the second generation corrects the imbalance.

Even as a young gentlemen Edgar personified the apollonian characteristics. For example, when Heathcliff and Catherine appear at Thrushcross Grange, Heathcliff observes, "… in the middle of the table sat a little dog, shaking its paw and yelping, which, from their mutual accusations, we understood they had nearly pulled in two between them. The idiots! That was their pleasure! To quarrel who should hold a heap of warm air" (Brontë, 47). Edgar's need to have possession over the dog unfolds his apollonian character. This same situation brings up Edgar's need for class distinction when Catherine and Heathcliff get into trouble; "'Robert was ordered to take me off… he dragged me into the garden, pushes the lantern into my hand, assured me that Mr. Earnshaw should be informed of my behavior, and, bidding me march directly, secured the door again. … Then the woman servant brought a basin of warm water, and washed her feet; and...
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