Wuthering Heights


Cast of Characters

Mr. Earnshaw—The father of Catherine and Hindley, he is a kindly man who introduces the outsider—young Heathcliff—into Wuthering Heights. Mr. Earnshaw has little other effect on the events of the novel, for he dies shortly afterward; but this one action is, perhaps, the most consequential of all. Without Heathcliff, none of the novel’s events would have come to pass.

Hindley Earnshaw—Hindley harbors a strong dislike for Heathcliff from the beginning. When he becomes master of the house, Hindley loses himself to a life of vice. In an act of retribution, Heathcliff turns Hindley into his virtual slave and puppet. Hindley blunders an attempt at assassination, and then drinks himself to an early death.

Catherine Earnshaw—She is the heroine of the first half of the novel. Headstrong and passionate, she causes the two worlds of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights to clash. Edgar represents the Grange, and Heathcliff the Heights. Neither is willing to relent and allow the other sole possession of her love, and Catherine herself is incapable of choosing one over the other. In the end, the division breaks her heart and—finally choosing Heathcliff (or, rather, allowing herself to be chosen by him)—she dies (though not before giving birth to Edgar’s daughter).

Heathcliff—Heathcliff is at once a madman, a devil, and a devoted lover. He cares for nothing save Catherine and respects no authority on earth that would contrive to keep them apart. When Catherine appears to reject him for Edgar, he departs for an interval, returning both to take his revenge on Thrushcross Grange and Hindley and to claim what he believes is rightfully his—Catherine.

Mrs. Ellen “Nelly” Dean—The faithful servant of the Earnshaws and later the Lintons, Nelly is also the faithful narrator of the story. Her own life is comingled with lives of the characters she describes, and thus she is as much an actor and...

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Essays About Wuthering Heights