Relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights
The central theme of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. The problem of the bond between Heathcliff and Catherine and its significance remains the central mystery of the novel till the very end. In fact, the novel is a revengeful love story of Heathcliff.
Catherine is the daughter of Mr. Earnshaw and Heathcliff is a pickup boy by Mr. Earnshaw from the slums of Liverpool. Mr. Earnshaw treated Heathcliff like his own child. As children, Cathy and Heathcliff seem to represent the spirit of freedom rebelling against the tyrannical authority and religious bigotry of Hindley and Joseph. Their love was infinite which draws them together irresistibly. Heathcliff repeatedly calls Catherine his soul.
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But there remains a striking contrast between them as far as looks, behavior, refinement is concerned. Cathy gets in dilemma about both of them because one is her earlier love and the later with more refinement and behavior.
Cathy decides to marry Edgar for his social status and social standards. Indeed he is handsome, young and cheerful. But she informs Nelly, the house keeper, of her feelings towards Heathcliff saying,
“Nelly he is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” But Heathcliff overhears Cathy saying to Nelly, “it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now.” He would not hear further as he leaves with his heart torn up into several pieces.
After overhearing such stuff, Heathcliff leaves the Wuthering Heights without saying anything to anybody and leaves no traces of him. After Cathy marries Edgar, she realizes her betrayal of her true self and gets sick and ill with the passing of days. After six months Heathcliff returns and on seeing him Cathy feels delighted. Inspite of Edgar’s dismay, Cathy and Heathcliff sit looking at one another but with no romantic erotic infatuation. Though she is married to Edgar she believes that Linton is subordinate and that Heathcliff is part of her.
After hearing about Catherine’s illness, Heathcliff burst into Cathy’s room, took her in his arms and bestowed countless kisses on her. Then Cathy confesses that she is responsible for everything because she had married Edgar when she has actually been in love with him. She then asks him to kiss her again. After Cathy’s death, Heathcliff suffers a lot and also made others suffer. He wished that when he dies, his dead body should be buried closed to Cathy’s dead body without any wall between them. His unfathomable love for Cathy makes him do such thing that is anti-moral.
At the end, we can say that the immortal love of Heathcliff turns to anti-moral as well as anti-social because of Cathy’s ambition to get social standards and his own psychological problem.