Love is a very powerful feeling. It overwhelms the body and mind. It has the ability to completely change oneself, both negatively and positively. Love can be pure and innocent as well as dark, evil and depressing. Emily Bronte's gothic novel Wuthering Heights explains how powerful love can be through the love-struck Catherine and Heathcliff. The novel revolves around the two soul mates and their untamed emotions. By analyzing Catherine and Heathcliff's love through selfishness, vengeance, and death, we can understand their love and how overwhelming it truly is.
Heathcliff and Catherine were destined to be together forever, no matter what. During their childhood they dreamt of a life full of intimacy and love together. Heathcliff and Catherine share similar traits and complete one another. Catherine tells us "whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the sameâ€¦" (Bronte 80). This quote reveals that Catherine believes they will always be together because they share the same soul. In an essay on love in Wuthering heights, Debra Goodlett refers to Catherine's quote that "â€¦Heathcliff is a part of her; if Heathcliff were to disappear, then Catherine would no longer exist."(Goodlett). Their love would eventually turn into an addiction and change their relationship and future for the worst. Because of Catherine's betrayal and selfishness and Heathcliff's vengeance one can see how this love comes to a deathly end.
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Catherine loves two men that are completely different from one another. Her soul mate, Heathcliff, is scrappy and rough. She loves him because they share a soul and are the same. Edgar Linton is rich and has a high social status. He is able to provide security for Catherine while Heathcliff cannot. Catherine changes the course of love when her selfishness takes over and she decides to marry Edgar Linton, leaving Heathcliff behind. She marries Edgar because he is "handsome, and young, and cheerful, and rich..." (Bronte 78). The marriage will allow Catherine to be rich and looked up to as well. Although she marries Edgar, Catherine still has love and shares a soul with Heathcliff. Heathcliff and Catherine's love cannot be broken and she goes back and forth from Edgar to Heathcliff trying to satisfy her own needs. Catherine describes her love for Linton as "â€¦the foliage in the woods. Time will change it; I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees." (Bronte 82). She speaks of Heathcliff as a love that "â€¦resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary." (Bronte 82). To Catherine, her love and marriage to Edgar doesn't mean leaving the man she truly loves. She believes she is inseparable from Heathcliff and nothing can tear their love apart, not even her own selfishness. Heathcliff sees the marriage as betrayal and it ultimately divides the two driving Heathcliff into a storm of vengeance.
Heathcliff's life has changed because of love. He is devoted to Catherine and has become obsessed with her. His love for her takes on an evil and dark form as he looks for revenge. Because of Catherine's betrayal, Heathcliff seeks revenge on all those who "have" Catherine, including Catherine. For love, Heathcliff begins his revenge by taking over Wuthering Heights, destroying Hindley's life. Heathcliff then transforms his image from a poor scrappy man to a fine looking gentleman and gains attention. He then gets revenge on Catherine by marrying Isabella, Edgar's sister, and later forcing Catherine's daughter to be his servant. In an essay by Jamie S. Crouse, she explains Heathcliff's plan as one in which "â€¦Heathcliff tries to possess and control Catherine after her death is through his plot of revenge to subordinate, and thus confine, anyone who is connected to her" (Crouse). Heathcliff's revenge leads Catherine to her death. On her death bed, Heathcliff asks "why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart Cathy?" (Bronte 159). This quote explains his feelings towards what Catherine did and is a reason why he planned revenge. In the essay, Crouse explains the outcome of Heathcliff's revenge on Catherine that "despite Heathcliff's elaborate plot to possess Catherine after her death, she seems to elude him as she did in life." (Crouse).
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Death plays an important role in the love Heathcliff and Catherine share. The lovers both die out of heartbreak and suffering due to love, but death still cannot separate the two. After Catherine's death, Heathcliff asks her to remain with him. Heathcliff tells Catherine "may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you- haunt me, then!" (Bronte 165). Heathcliff goes on to tell Catherine "take any form- drive me mad!" (Bronte 165) and "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" (Bronte 165). Heathcliff proclaiming that he and Catherine are as one and they share a soul. He cannot live without her. Suffering from heartbreak and loneliness, death consumes Heathcliff and he is reunited with Catherine. Jamie S. Crouse believes that "â€¦with Heathcliff's death, they finally achieve the freedom and wholeness they desiredâ€¦" (Crouse). The soul mates will forever be united just as they thought they should be and live together in the afterlife, free and in love. An essay by Marielle Seichepine sums up Heathcliff and Catherine's suffering and death, describing "Their mutual destruction by tooth and nail in an effort, through death, to get back to the lost state of gypsy freedom in childhood."(Seichepine). Death allows Heathcliff and Catherine to forever be together in the moors that they have always loved.
Heathcliff and Catherine have a twisted and dark love for one another and it is clear that it's addicting and overwhelming. They were destined to be together and nothing would get in the way of their love, not even death. One can see how complicated their love is and how suffering, vengeance, and death sums up their relationship. The two were soul mates, sharing a soul; one could not live without the other. Because of Catherine's selfishness and Heathcliff's vengeance the two unite after death and their true love continues forever.