Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wuthering Heights: Catherine - Character Analysis

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Catherines Character


In the beginning Catherine is introduced to us as high spirited, kind to Heathcliff, and a free spirit. These qualities originally made me like her and her love for Heathcliff. However her character drastically changes throughout the story. When she hurts her leg and is forced to say at the neighboring house, Thrushcross Grange with the Lintons she returns to Wuthering Heights as a dignified, well dressed lady. She was easily swayed to the superior life style of the Lintons, and began to look down upon her old friend and soulmate Heathcliff. She even laughs at Heathcliffs rough and dirty appearance and says I did not mean to laugh at you, she said; I could not hinder myself Heathcliff, shake hands at least! What are you sulky for? It was only that you looked odd. If you wash your face and brush your hair, it will be all right but you are so dirty! We the reader, are left surprised and cheated with this reversal of Catherine. She becomes more and more selfish by the minute and trys to change Heathcliff, and begins to feel that he is infact beneath her. Which is one of the main reasons she starts to look at Edgar Linton in a new light. For he is a gentleman, refined, handsome and rich. Her feelings for Edgar and Heathcliff become increasingly apparent. However, she claims to be in love with Heathcliff and says that they have the same souls My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff. Although she is well aware that her love for Heathcliff is bound to change as time passes, she still is obsessed by her love for Heathcliff she confirms it in the above quotation and by saying that she will never, ever be separated from him. Why does she not marry him then? Well, she has another obsession too; she does not want to degrade herself by marrying him. Instead she thinks that by marrying Linton she can and Heathcliff can rise socially. So she goes ahead and accepts Edgars proposal. This quick decision is baffling and hurtful. We can see she is marrying Edgar for all the wrong reasons she even confides to Nelly that he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighborhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband. So when push comes to shrove, she throws away love for he own selfish wants and materialistic motives. Catherine wanted Edgar for his life and riches and Heathcliff for his soul. She didnt want to choose between the two of them, and therefore she never really did. She toyed with both of them by marrying Edgar while still loving Heathcliff. Thus, she caused pain for Heathcliff and Edgar, by causing Edgar to feel jealous and Heathcliff wanting revenge. Catherines passion for Heathcliff ruined the lives of so many people at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The whole story revolved around the passion that Catherine and Heathcliff felt for each other. Edgar, on the other hand, felt a more reasonable love for Catherine. Catherine was devoted to Edgar, yet was in love with Heathcliff! Later in the story when she seems to be suffering with the decisions she has made, I cant say I feel bad for her, because she made those bad choices and now she must live with them. Her relationships were based on impulse and passion, she never thought them out or used her head. I cant help but think of her as a spoiled child who likes to be in the center of attention, by stringing along both men, and wanting to be the most powerful woman of land.


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