Wuthering Heights | Sunday Observer

Wuthering Heights

The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is set in the Yorkshire moors in England in the late eighteenth century. The plot of the novel revolves around the tragic lives of the characters Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. The novel begins with a description of a character named Mr. Lockheed’s visit to Thrushcross Grange and his subsequent stay at the farmhouse Wuthering Heights where he goes to meet Heathcliff. Because of a snow storm, Mr. Lockheed is asked by the housekeeper to spend the night in Catherine’s bed chamber which is haunted. The story of Catherine and Heathcliff is narrated to Mr. Lockheed by the maid Nelly.

Heathcliff is an orphan who was adopted by Catherine’s father, Mr. Earnshaw who raised him alongside his own children Hindley and Catherine. However, after Mr. Earnshaw dies, Catherine’s brother Hindley ill treats Heathcliff and reduces him to the status of a servant. Catherine and Heathcliff fall in love, but Catherine chooses to marry Edgar Linton instead of Heathcliff because of his low social standing. Heathcliff goes away and returns after three years seemingly as a gentleman and takes revenge on Catherine and Edgar. Heathcliff seduces Edgar’s foolish sister Isabella and elopes with her because of her inheritance. Isabella eventually leaves Heathcliff because he ill treats and abuses her, but she has a son by him named Linton. Heathcliff also abuses Hindley’s son Hareton who is under his care. Catherine dies shortly after giving birth to a daughter named Cathy.

One day, Heathcliff lures Cathy into Wuthering Heights and keeps her imprisoned and forces her to marry his son Linton, in order to gain ownership of Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff is a very cruel brute and his passion for Catherine is grotesque.

Catherine’s extremes of passion and fury render her as an unsympathetic character. Wuthering Heights is a tragedy which explores the way in which extremes of passion and revenge destroy the lives of characters.

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