Wuthering Heights The word passion is defined in the dictionary as: "a very strong feeling, love and hate are passions. A violent anger; rage: He flew into a passion. It is also an intense love or sexual desire, a very strange liking of devotion." Put the word ruling in front, and you have a predominating; prevalent obsession. The novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte, is a story about love, hate driven passions that are ruling in these characters lives. An obsession that leads these characters to be impulsive, vindictive, jealous and stupid. These ruling passions run and ruin the lives of all the characters in Wuthering Heights. There extreme passions have direct effects on the lives of others, which also carry into other generations.
First of all, there is Heathcliff, a pitiful man driven by his ruling passion for Catherine and revenge. We first sympathize with the man when we see how Hindley mistreats him, and how he is turned down by Catherine for Edgar, and then a huge transformation takes place in our dear Heathcliff.
His plan of vengeance begins to unfold and our feelings soon change. He leaves Wuthering Heights for years, deserting his love, and is determined to be successful and powerful in hopes to return suitable for Catherine. He comes back after three years, during which at the time nobody at the Heights or the Grange knew his whereabouts, and the first person he is eager to see is Catherine. He is now a changed person driven by his ruling passion to be someone else. He tells Catherine: "I heard of your marriage, Cathy, not long since; and, while waiting in the yard below, I meditated this plan: just to have one glimpse of your face, a stare of surprise, perhaps, and pretended pleasure; afterwards settle my score with Hindley; and then prevent the law by doing execution on myself. Your welcome has put these ideas out of my mind; but beware of meeting me with another aspect next time." Being upset with the news of Catherine's marriage to Edgar he tries to hurt them both by marring Edgar's sister, Isabella, even though he doesn't love her and even like her. Instead this one sided love affair, Heathcliff takes advantage of Isabella's feelings, to carry out his obsession for revenge. He ends up ruining her life and inheriting her fortune. In marrying her he accomplishes to parts of his plan, revenge and power. Was he just being selfish or blinded by his ruling passion to have her? The passing of time doesn't seem to dim his love or passion for Catherine, even after she dies he begs her ghost to haunt him, "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unbearable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" Most rational people who have loved someone who just died, wish that their souls rest in peace. He even arranges for their coffins to be open and facing each other. Nobody can think rationally when being ruled by a passion as strong as this.
Heathcliff had been mistreated by his foster brother Hindley, and is now in a passion by his thoughts of revenge: "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!" He is able to turn the tables on Hindley and makes him his slave. When Hindley is drunk one night he gambles his property to Heathcliff leaving him broke and Heathcliff holding all the cards. He even tries stealing away Hindley's son, who he later ends up raising. He again tries to get back at Edgar Linton, by not only marrying his sister but taking away his daughter and forcing her to marry his son. As the book progresses he becomes more and more darker, and his ruling passion for revenge ruins the lives he touches, and his acts even effect the younger generation of Wuthering Heights.
Catherine also has the same ruling passion of love for Heathcliff. "My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff" Catherine has just told her housekeeper that she has made up her mind to marry Edgar Linton, although she is well aware that her love for him is bound to change as time passes. She is still obsessed by her love for Heathcliff and 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 ruling passion; she does not want to degrade herself by marrying him. Instead she thinks that by marrying Linton she can help Heathcliff rise socially. So she goes ahead and accepts Edgar's proposal. This quick decision is baffling, impulsive and not well thought out at all. She makes a rash decision that ends up not only changing her life but Edgar's and Heathcliff's as well. She basically ditches Heathcliff and sets up Edgar for Heathcliff's revenge. She also never lets Heathcliff go, and continues to love him while being married to Edgar. Latter she says, "Well, if I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend - if Edgar will be mean and jealous, Ill try to break their hearts by breaking my own." Her love for Heathcliff seems to be a stronger passion then ever, considering the torments she goes through, she even makes her self become seriously ill. The last time Catherine and Heathcliff see each other it is a very emotional and conflicting meeting. Their love for each other is as strong as ever, and Heathcliff accuses Catherine of having done him wrong by marrying Edgar, but she returns his accusation by saying: "you loved me - then what right had you to leave me?" Even at her death bed they are both obsessed with self-reproaches and mutual accusations. Their entire relationship never made any sense; instead it was based on their ruling passions, and bad communication on both of their parts. Her decisions based on her ruling passions affect her husband, child and lover Heathcliff, leaving them angry and alone.
The second generation in Wuthering Heights, pale in comparison to their parents yet are still paying for their mistakes led by their ruling passions. They also have little obsessions or ruling passions of there own. From the beginning we see the Linton's having higher social status than the residents at Wuthering Heights. This is due to the fact that the Linton's are better educated than the laborers at the Heights. Young Cathy's love for reading has a direct effect on Hareton Earnshaw's pursuits at becoming literate. Hareton, being an outcast like Heathcliff, tries his best to learn to read, in an attempt to win Catherine Linton's affection. Also with the help of Cathy he struggles to get back his inheritance, luckily a struggle which the exhausted Heathcliff no longer has the strength to oppose. On the day Haraton reads aloud his name, engraved over the entrance of Wuthering Heights, he knows that he will soon reclaim his legacy. Cathy seems overwhelmed with curiosity for Wuthering Heights. She is constantly drawn there, and when she is fooled to believe Linton, has feelings for her, she writes him letters of love and feels to be with him. Then she finds herself trapped their because of her poorly made decision that went against her fathers will. Linton Heathcliff is a nervous, sickly, effeminate child, weak-willed and is a tool of his father's revenge. He being loving and respectful, by pleasing his father, he even marries a woman he does not like. They all fell victim to Heathcliff's ruling passion that has carried over into the new generation, and of their own.
In conclusion, in this novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte love, obsessions, and ruling passions are interconnected. The love between Catherine and Heathcliff runs all through the story, and that love is the driving force behind Heathcliff's ruling passion to have his revenge. There obsession for each other leads into greater anger, jealousy, and Impulsive decisions that effect everyone around them.