Wuthering Heights is a story about tragic love and social inequality. The protagonists of the novel – Heathcliff and Catherine, are childhood friends. They are happy and spirit-free as children. However, as they grow older, money and social status come between them. Despite her love for Heathcliff, Catherine marries a man who can guarantee her a comfortable and wealthy life. Heathcliff is left alone. Heartbroken and devastated, he seeks revenge.
Like many other novelists of the 19th century, Emily Brontë reflects closely on the nature of love. She poses a question of what can be called love. Nevertheless, this novel differs from other romantic stories of the 19th century. Wuthering Heights is a dark and mysterious work. It combines gothic romance and harsh realism. This story is about hatred and revenge, envy and pride that take their roots in love.
All the emotions in the book are described vividly. The love is crazy, sick, and manic; the hatred is fierce and vindictive. For a 19th-century novel, Wuthering Heights is very honest. It openly displays the feelings of the characters and the way they deal with them.
Emily Brontë’s book was a revelation. It depicted different types of love. Brontë leaves it up to the reader to decide what kind of love can be called real love. The nature of Catherine’s feelings towards Edgar and Heathcliff is different. Catherine’s love for Edgar is rational. Her love for Heathcliff, however, is passionate and selfless. She loves him with her whole heart. Then, what makes her marry Linton instead?
Catherine becomes a victim of patriarchal society. Since childhood, she wants to lead a happy and carefree life. Growing up, she sacrifices her desires and ambitions to live by the rules of society. She marries a noble and rich man:
Her vanity also plays a part.
The characters are forced to suppress their true desires to fit into the society of that time. The characters’ behavior, driven by real human emotions, makes the book more realistic.
Every character is a person that has with their weaknesses. The cruelty and depravity described in Wuthering Heights are inseparable from the characters and their essence. The novel touches upon such topics as passion, supernatural love, and obsession.
The reader’s attitude towards each character is likely to change constantly throughout the novel. Everyone described in the novel is complex. The characters of Wuthering Heights each represent different emotions. For example, Catherine Earnshaw and Hareton represent arrogance, Hindley Earnshaw – jealousy, Isabella Linton – lust. Heathcliff, in turn, personifies the feeling of anger, Linton Heathcliff Jr – despondency, and Hindley -greed.
The relationship Heathcliff and Catherine have can be described as unhealthy. Their love is possessive and full of hatred. In her book, Emily Brontë shows that love is not a fairytale. At times, it can be destructive. The novel also discusses the idea that there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong” love. According to the author, any kind of love has the right to exist. Nobody is perfect, but everyone deserves to be loved and has the right to love.