Wuthering Heights - Critical Theme - Love

  • Created by: evasophia
  • Created on: 02-01-18 19:40
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  • Themes In Wuthering Heights - Love
    • Love is central to the events that unfold in WH.
  • The novel explores different kinds of love from many different perspectives - domestic, material, unrequited, social, romantic and transcendent love. This form can mainly seen through the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine.
    • Despite all characters having an input on the theme of love, it is the passion of Heathcliff and Catherine that most readers respond to and remember and that has made this novel one of the great love stories not merely of English literature but of European literature as well.
      • Both characters  long to be whole, to give oneself unreservedly to the other and to gain a whole self or sense of identity back, which can only be found when they are together. A sense of belonging is only ever achieved when the pair are with one another, yet due to social pressures, Catherine betrays her heart and marries Edgar Linton instead.
        • Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. (9.92)
          • This quote implies how social status had priority over true love,Though she loves him as her own being, Catherine sees Heathcliff as beneath her compared to the social promise of marriage to Edgar. It's hard to reconcile such profound love with the choice she makes, but somehow she manages to work out the logic in her head.
            • It is understandable for Catherine to conform to societies expectations rather than follow her heart due to knowledge surrounding Heathcliff's beginnings and context.
              • Heathcliff is adopted by Hindley and Cathy’s father after he finds him in Liverpool. At the time Wuthering Heights was written in the 1840s, Liverpool was a bleak industrial town – the upper classes feared the industrial workers revolting and so often took pity on them, suggesting why Mr. Earnshaw adopted him.
            • The love between Catherine and Edgar is proper and civilized rather than passionate. Theirs is a love of peace and comfort - a socially acceptable love*, but it can't stand in the way of Heathcliff and Catherine's more profound (and more violent) connection.
              • It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him


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