In the novel Wuthering Heights, Catherine has feelings for two men. She has to choose between the two of them. Although her feelings for Heathcliff are strong, he cannot provide her with the life of the luxury she desires so much. In the end, Cathy decides to marry Edgar, who can elevate her social status. All the characters get affected by that decision.
Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Brontë. The story introduces the readers to three characters – Catherine Earnshaw, Edgar Linton, and Heathcliff.
Catherine and Heathcliff are childhood friends. With time, they grow close and develop strong feelings for each other. Despite this, Catherine later falls for their neighbor – Edgar. This love triangle sets off the central conflict of the story.
Catherine Earnshaw is from a well-to-do family and is raised in a little village with her siblings. She meets Heathcliff first after her father brings him to their home. Heathcliff is an orphan and has no living family. Mr. Earnshaw is an uncaring father who ignores his children. However, he adores the orphan boy and spoils him. It only contributes to the conflict between Heathcliff and the children. Catherine is the only person in the family who does not despise the boy. The two often wander off together.
The two friends sometimes spy on their neighbor Edgar and his sister out of interest. Edgar Linton is the opposite of Heathcliff. From the moment the two meet, they strongly dislike each other. The Linton siblings come from a wealthy family. Catherine and Heathcliff are jealous of that fact. The young girl desperately wants to have a wealthy and secure life. Meanwhile, Heathcliff understands that he can never match Linton’s wealth.
The relationship between the two friends suffers after they meet Edgar and his sister. Emily Brontë foreshadows their separation during their first encounter with Lintons. Catherine and Heathcliff are separated when Lintons take the girl in after their dog attacks her. When the wealthy neighbors visit them at home, Edgar laughs at Heathcliff, who attacks him in return. Catherine’s older brother later punishes him. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, the orphan can only stay in Wuthering Heights as a servant to the family. The humiliation he suffers only makes his hatred for Lintons stronger.
Later, Catherine gets engaged to Edgar, whom Heathcliff still despises. She explains her desire to get marry Edgar and not Heathcliff to her housekeeper Nelly. Marriage is an opportunity for Catherine to elevate her social status. Despite the love and passion she shares with Heathcliff, she is convinced that marrying Heathcliff will lead to a life in poverty. Catherine wants to lead a wealthy life and be a respected member of society. For that reason, she chooses Edgar’s quiet adoration over Heathcliff’s fierce love.
Overall, Catherine chooses to marry Edgar because he can give her the life that Heathcliff cannot. The woman loves her childhood friend passionately. She knows that he is her soulmate and one true love. Nevertheless, she likes Edgar for his quiet and gentle demeanor. He loves her, and with him, she has more opportunities. Catherine later regrets her decision, but it is too late. The young woman gets angry with Edgar for shutting Heathcliff out of their lives. Cathy is distraught over losing him, and she dies out of grief.