Relationships in "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte

Essay by vdcsmallsHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2007

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Pride and selfishness distort personal relationships. Emily Bronte molds her characters’ interpersonal relationships within her book Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Heathcliff grow up amicably together, but share a strained relationship once Catherine marries Edgar. To suit his rage against Catherine, Heathcliff takes his revenge out on Isabella. Hindley and Heathcliff escalate from mutual dislike when they are children to having homicidal attitudes toward each other when they are adults. Hareton and Cathy’s relationship is changed for the better when she looks beyond his faults and sees him for who he really is.

Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship changes drastically when Catherine marries Edgar. Edgar and Heathcliff obviously do not care for each other and Catherine forces the two of them together. When Heathcliff returns from his absence Edgar is unhappily surprised at Catherine’s joy. Catherine attempts to make Edgar and Heathcliff like each other. She knows that Edgar “[doesn’t] like [Heathcliff]” but asks that “for [her] sake, [they] must be friends now.”(115).

Catherine already knows that Heathcliff is not friendly and that Edgar will not like him, yet she continues to force a bond between them.

Catherine seems to understand that if she chooses one she can’t have the other, but continues to push them together. Later Catherine spurs an argument between Edgar and Heathcliff over Isabella. She waits until “Edgar is restored from the ill-temper he gave way to at [Heathcliff’s] coming.” She then goes so far so to suggest that Heathcliff should “quarrel with Edgar, if [he] please[s]” (138) when Edgar finds out about Isabella’s feeling for Heathcliff. Catherine is jealous of Isabella because she wants Heathcliff to show affection to her rather than Isabella. She wants Heathcliff to prove his love by fighting with her husband for her.

Catherine even continues to torture Heathcliff on her deathbed. She...