Love and Betrayal Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is considered to be one of the greatest novels written in the English language. Due to Heathcliff and Catherine's love relationship, Wuthering Heights is considered a romantic novel. 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 about humans. The role of love and betrayal in Wuthering Heights effects Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship by eventually leading to their demise.
Throughout Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff's personality can be defined as dark, menacing, and brooding. He is a dangerous character, with rapidly changing moods, capable of hatred, and incapable, it seems, of any kind of forgiveness or compromise.
Heathcliff's life is marked by wickedness, love, and strength. His dark actions are produced by the distortion of his natural personality. The depiction of him at Wuthering Heights is described as a "dirty, ragged, black-haired child" (45). Already he was exposed to hardship and uncomplainingly accepted suffering. He displays his strength and steadfastness when Hindley treats him cruelly. Not only does he show his strength through Hindley, but also by following his personal goal of a life with Catherine. From the very beginning he showed great courage, resoluteness, and love. Few have the capability to be victimized and find secret delight in his persecutor sinking into a life of intemperance which will undoubtedly cause his own death.
Heathcliff's hatred erupts when Catherine marries Edgar. She betrays him and now he wants revenge on Edgar and Hindley. His wickedness is entirely inappropriate and unusual. Without a question he is brutal and the universal darkness in Heathcliff must not be excused. The vicious manner in which he helps to destroy Hindley, kidnaps Cathy and Nelly, and brutalizes Isabella and Hareton, suggests that he is disturbed. Heathcliff's dark instincts are evident because of his passion and undying love for Cathy. He vanishes for three years to win Cathy over with his successes and choses to fight a battle that most would never attempt to begin. When Heathcliff returns a wealthy gentleman, suddenly able to rival Edgar's wealth, Catherine does not react like a wife in a loveless marriage.
Instead she renews her former plan to have Edgar as a husband and Heathcliff as a friend.
She says, "Edgar must get accustomed to Heathcliff" (105). She seeks to reconcile the two kinds of love. Of course, Catherine's plan can not work. Heathcliff is not content as her best friend, and takes advantage of Isabella's affection in an act of revenge.
His obsession with Catherine is what causes him to act out in revenge against Edgar. It must be assumed that his obsession with Catherine, his desperate yearning to be with her, and his longing for death was what ultimately killed him. That such a longing could actually kill Heathcliff suggests that perhaps what he was experiencing was more than love. It seems unlikely that love would inspire Heathcliff in such rage and anger as consumed in his life for the many years following Catherine's death. That love alone could cause his physical decline and death seems unlikely as well. Heathcliff's condition indicates that what he felt towards Catherine was more than love, it was more like a violent obsession, fueled by a mad jealousy and hatred of anyone who dared to stand himself between him and her.
Catherine's first love is Heathcliff and she falls in love with him as they both grow up together. As children "she was much too fond of Heathcliff," Nelly tells Mr.
Lockwood, "The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him" (50). They are best friends throughout childhood, but are separated for the first time when Catherine must stay at Thrushcross Grange while her...
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