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Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

An article by Valerie Mamicheva


Cathy and Heathcliff

It seems to be a simple love story of two suffering souls - Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. But this love can hardly exist in reality - it's a fantasy of Emily Bronte, she created a sample of a real eternal passion - powerful and boundless. Only death seemed to be stronger than it. Though, after Cathy and Heathcliff are dead, these similar souls joined... There's no doubt in it.

Remember Heathcliff's words:

You teach me now how cruel you've been - cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort ... You loved me - then what right had you to leave me? What right ... for the poor fancy you feel for Linton? 

Yes, in Heathcliff's opinion, Cathy betrayed him, but not only him. She betrayed her heart, she betrayed herself.

Maybe this is the main problem or question touched in Wuthering Heights that is explored through all the novel. Cathy and Heathcliff grew up together, Catherine - passionate wild nature and Heathcliff - miserable pauper, but with the heart and soul, that are so suffered and wounded. They fell in love with each other at first sight. They kept each other, protected each other from angry and boring sermons of Hindley and from religious senile grumbling of Joseph.

It seems to us, such pure childish affection has to grow into something greater, So that began to do, but suddenly, we find out a new acting personage - Edgar Linton, young rich nobleman, he attracts for a short time (I repeat, for a short time) Catherine's attention. By her own words she had fallen in love with him. Why? What had she found in this man? Were they so much alike with him? Was it HER man? She tells Nelly Dean the reasons made her fall in love with him:

Well, because he is handsome, and pleasant to be with... And because he is young and cheerful.. And because he loves me... And he will be rich, and I shall be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband.

These are very meritorious reasons, of course! Who is rude and cruel Heathcliff comparing with such gentle beautiful creature as Edgar? Now there is a wall between Catherine and Heathcliff. They are different people. Heathcliff is annoying Cathy. His stupid and rude manners are deprived of all the good noble character's features, which Linton has too much. How monstrously and miserably Heathcliff looks comparing with Edgar, Cathy's future husband. But what had happened again? She has forgotten all the love she felt to Heathcliff. And she doesn't see his sufferings. She's so cruel. But once, Heathcliff, having not borne his abasement and pain of his broken love, runs away from Cathy. She waits for him, but he doesn't come back, so she marries Edgar Linton. It's obviously that they're not a good couple, soon she has understood she's thirsty for freedom - to fly in the sky like a bird.

Thrushcross Grange's life is full of different amusements and joy, Edgar and his sister Isabella do everything they can to make her happy. But what does all this mean to her? She's a little wild beast by her nature needing freedom and boundless heaths. That's all she wants to be happy in this world. She and Edgar is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, or frost from fire." It is really so.

And one accident happens and lights her duck and dull life - Heathcliff has come back and with him all the old memories, the old forgotten love is back, too. Their love begins from a new age. Cathy and Heathcliff are all alone in the whole world. They don't need anyone! Their love is burning and burning, brighter and brighter. They're on fire. The greatest outburst of emotions happens after accidental meeting of Edgar and Heathcliff in Thrushcross Grange, when Cathy begins to protect Heathcliff. It's obviously feeling in her following dialogue with the husband:

'If you have not courage to attack him, make an apology, or allow yourself to be beaten. It will correct you of feigning more valour than you possess.

After this scandal Heathcliff has to go away from Thrushcross Grange, and Cathy's taken ill. She has fever; lying in her bed in Thrushcross Grange, she's toughly believing she see the book-case from Wuthering heights, and having seen her reflection in a mirror, she is much scared . Having kicked Nelly's hands off, she gets to an open window to feel fresh air from the heath... and she sees Wuthering heights' windows before her:

Look! .. that's my room with a candle in it... Joseph sits up late, doesn't he? He's waiting till I come home that he may lock the gate.

Yes, Cathy is ill, but a matter not only in her physical illness, but her soul, too. Her soul is hurt, the heart is broken, she is tired from her life and she wants to come back to her childhood in order to run with her lovely Heathcliff around boundless heaths again, to laugh at the sun and the blue sky, to be afraid of ghosts, hiding in the Gimmerton cemetery, to come back to that time when there were no troubles. She tells this wish during her fever, but we see in reality she only reads her heart's desire. She misses Heathcliff.

How tragically and psychologically hard is their meeting. How charming and at the same time horrible their words are. We understand from Cathy's and Heathcliff's dialogue, that these two people are parts of each other. Heathcliff's speech is full of the passionate love and hate, his words are tragical. Cathy speaks with a pain and a regret in her poor heart. These are really uncommon people:

Are you possessed with a devil.. To talk in that manner to me when you are dying? Do you reflect that all these words will be branded in my memory, and eating deeper eternally after you have left me?

That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he's in my soul.

It even seems to us that she's gone crazy (after Nelly's words). Heathcliff is
good, too! Yes, they're worth of each other. Cathy's restless nature couldn't bear this - there's a hard lot put on her - she betrayed her beloved man, marrying Edgar Linton, she doesn't love him. She's dying with this great pressure on her heart. What is Heathcliff's reaction then? These are his words:

... and I pray one prayer - I repeat it till my tongue stiffens - Catherien Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living, you said I killed you - haunt me, then!

This damnation is on his lips because of his terrible agony appealed by Catherin's death. If he is able to bear this? Such a trial. He has to have inhuman power to live. But he survived. He is alive, and he died many years later.

And who were Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff? Absolutely inhuman creatures. On our land there were no place for them, no things to do for them, such bright unforgettable people can be met very seldom, and even if they born, then they are suffering for all of their life. Powerful personalities, restless souls and ardent hearts. Such people, maybe, won't calm down after their death.

 — Valerie Mamicheva
September, 2001