The Relation of Evil and Love in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This study will examine Emily Bronte's novel Wuthering Heights, focusing on how evil is related to love. The study will explore the main relationship in the book, the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. That relationship is full of both love and evil and will show us what happens when evil and love become tied to one another.
The first thing we need to do is define evil. It is perhaps impossible to define love in a way, which will satisfy all of us. We will probably all agree that love is usually an attraction between two people, which makes them feel good about themselves and the other person and about ...view middle of the document...
That is what Bronte's novel shows us and reminds us about this kind of powerful, romantic love. It does not get out of control in the case of these two lovers, and becomes evil.
Heathcliff is shown to be a dark and even hateful character the moment we meet him on the first two pages of the book. Lockwood sees himself as a kind of kin to Heathcliff, and sees the region as a fit for heir dark personalities.
A perfect misanthropist's Heaven--- and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable
pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how
my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so
suspiciously under their brows (45).
Lockwood has no idea how much more dark and evil Heathcliff is. Heathcliff is shown to be an evil man even before he meets Catherine, so we cannot say that he learned to be evil because of his extreme love for Catherine. We see Heathcliff not as a loving person, not as a lover, but as a hater, a misanthrope, or a person who hates people. This might be a clue helping us to understand the evil part of Heathcliff's love. Perhaps a love for one person, which grows out of a hatred of all other people, will end up being evil, sooner or later. Perhaps true love leads a person to feel warm and loving toward all people, or most people. And perhaps a love, which is evil, is one, which comes from a hatred for people in general, and a feeling that one other person, the beloved, will heal the pain of that huge hatred. In Heathcliff's case, that did not happen. He was not healed by love, but driven even madder than he was at the beginning of the book.
In contrast to Heathcliff, Catherine is pictured as a warm, playful and loving person in the early part of the book. However, the first important scene in which we hear of Catherine and Heathcliff together gives us a sense of the evil of Heathcliff and the possibility of Catherine being affected by that evil. Again, we must keep in mind that we do not know what the irrational feeling is that ties two people together, even if the world is against them. In fact, when the world is against them and their love, it often drives them even closer together, as is the case with Catherine and Heathcliff. This is especially rue for these two lovers because even in childhood they had had a very close relationship in which they were themselves fighting the world together.
In that first scene, from their childhood, Catherine and Heathcliff are spying on their neighbors, who have everything material and are believed to be happy. But when Heathcliff and Catherine look through the window, they see a miserable family screaming at one another. Heathcliff's reaction in telling this story gives us an idea of his deep feeling for Catherine as well as his rage at the rest of the world;
The idiots! That was their pleasure! To quarrel… and cry… We (Catherine
and himself) did despise them! When would you…. find us by ourselves,...