Essay, Research Paper: Wuthering Heights And Power Of Love

Literature: Wuthering Heights

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Many readers argue that Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is anything but a
romance. Although it does not follow the conventional form of the Victorian
Romance novels, it can be argued that it is one of the greatest love stories of
all time. The traditional forms of love may not be represented in this story,
but one can not argue that love is the predominant theme throughout the book.
What else but love could possibly drive the characters to the ends which they
accomplish. The most controversial and the predominant love represented in this
novel is that of “spiritual love.” This form of love is the one shared
between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw Linton. This bond is expressed by
Catherine when she tells Nelly, “I can not express it; but surely you and
every body have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours
beyond you. What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here?
My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched
and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all
else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else
remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty
stranger....Nelly, I am Heathcliff .” (page 81) It may be hard for most people
to understand their bond, as very few people ever experience a love of this type
during their lifetime. The only comparisons that may be offered for an attempt
at understanding may perhaps be the bond felt by someone regarding their first
love. Although this relationship may end, a special connection will always be
felt for this person, and the love that was felt will never be forgotten. As
many state, there will always be a special place in their heart for this person.
Another example may be the love a parent feels for a child. Although this is not
a romantic love, it is a love that is unconditional and timeless. Catherine and
Heathcliff, through their own actions, are never able to truly act on their love
for one another, and this tragedy is what allows us to experience the timeless
classic of Wuthering Heights. With her marriage to Edgar Linton, Catherine makes
it impossible for her and Heathcliff to ever be joined together. Although her
actions seem selfish, she sees this as the only way that she can help raise
Heathcliff from the clutches of her brother Hindley. Heathcliff, unfortunately,
never understands her actions for what they truly are, and chaos results. This
impeded love serves as the catalyst throughout the novel, bringing with it
tragedy and revenge. Heathcliff is driven to reek havoc on all of those who he
views as wronging him in some form - except of course for Catherine. Everything
in the story happens through Heathcliff, and results from the distortion of his
personality because of this thwarted love. As long as he has Catherine, he can
stand anything, but without her all of his emotions turn to hate. Some may
questions whether or not Catherine loves Edgar Linton before she marries him.
The only explanation that may be offered is that if she does love him, this love
can only be defined as superficial. Catherine is unable to ever feel anything
more spiritual for Edgar, as this part of herself is reserved for Heathcliff
alone. Catherine expresses this emotion when she tells Nelly, “My love for
Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I’m well aware,
as winter changes the trees - my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks
beneath - a source of little visible delight but necessary.” (page 82) She
realizes that her love for Heathcliff is far more important than what she feels
for Edgar, but Edgar offers her a civilized, socially acceptable, and
materialistic advantage. She knows that marrying Heathcliff would cause them
both a lifetime of misery, as they would live as beggars. What Catherine does
not realize is that by denying herself a union with Heathcliff results in a
tragedy deeper than she can comprehend. After her marriage to Edgar, and the
return of Heathcliff; Catherine is torn apart spiritually , mentally and
emotionally when she realizes what she has done. She realizes that it is
impossible for her to love Heathcliff and remain with Edgar and seeks release
through death. At this point Catherine acknowledges that the only way her and
Heathcliff will ever be together is through death. She knows that it will be
impossible for her to enter heaven and will be able to wait for Heathcliff to
come to her. With her marriage to Edgar, the good in Heathcliff turns to evil,
and he seeks vengeance upon everyone around him, except for Catherine. When
Heathcliff returns from his three year absence, he arranges to once again see
Catherine. Shortly thereafter, Catherine submits herself to her own death. After
approximately seventeen years of avenging his “enemies”, Heathcliff finally
loses his desire to go on causing suffering to others. He realizes that he in
fact loves Hareton (his nemisis’ son) because of his resemblance to Catherine.
Upon this revelation, he begins to eagerly await his own death, and his union
with Catherine. Heathcliff and Catherine are examples of two people who love
each other beyond the comprehension of most people. The story is one of tragedy,
and because of Heathcliff’s actions, many readers have a hard time viewing him
as a hero. However, if one truly understands the meaning behind Emily Bronte’s
writing, the only emotion that can be felt for Heathcliff is that of sympathy
and pity. Through no action of his own, and only because of his birthright,
Heathcliff is denied his one true love. Without the pressures of social
expectations and usurpers, Heathcliff and Catherine may have married and changed
the course of their lives. With Catherine, Heathcliff was a sedate and accepting
childlike figure. After Catherine deserts him to marry Linton, Heathcliff is
unable to feel anything but hate and anger for others. If Catherine and
Heathcliff had been able to follow their hearts as Cathy and Hareton are, they
would have experienced the greatest love possible. When Hareton and Cathy plant
their garden at Wuthering Heights, and it begins to blossom, the reader
understands that a rebirth is about to occur. Somehow it is known, through this
symbolism, that all that was evil will turn to love. Heathcliff and Cathy will
be united in death, and the love of Cathy and Hareton will bloom. What will
endure is an easier and more plausible love represented by Hareton and Cathy.
Heathcliff is redeemed when even he recognizes this. He finally lets go of his
feelings of bitterness and is joined with Catherine through death. This story
represents a great romantic tragedy, that may in fact be compared to Romeo and
Juliet. The fate of star crossed lovers who are unable to enjoy passion in life
is to find redemption through death. To not understand that this is a love
story, one beyond the comprehension of most, is a great loss to readers. To view
this book only as one of violence, hate and revenge serves a great injustice.
Understanding the love of these two people, Catherine and Heathcliff, would
bring envy to anyone. To feel a love so strongly and so deeply is something that
most of us will never be lucky enough to experience, and may never be able to
truly comprehend.
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