Wuthering Heights


Catherine Earnshaw

Catherine is a divided character. She is torn between her devotion to two separate men from two separate worlds. Neither man is willing to share her with the other, and she in turn finds deficiencies in both that compel her to reject both at different intervals. Thus, she may slap Edgar and reveal her ill nature, yet still command his sympathy. She may reject Heathcliff and reveal her arrogance, yet still command his devotion. Indeed, she is proud; but that is not the whole of her. Like Heathcliff, she has an exaggerated notion of herself and mistakenly believes that she can balance opposing rivals in her hand. When she fails to do so, she blames both for breaking her heart.

Even at the very end of her life, when she chooses Heathcliff and vows never to let him go, the consequence of this choice still proves to be too much of a strain on her body, and just before her husband enters the room to find the lovers joined in an embrace, she faints, never to fully recover her senses. Thus, she illustrates the ancient principle that no one can serve two masters—for when she does, she dies under the pressure.

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