Wuthering Heights, wrote by Emily Bronti?? in 1847, is of utmost complexity in many ways. As well as the novel being a good story, Emily Bronti?? is very ahead of her own time almost, by addressing issues that are still relevant today. She talks in an almost modern way about love, class and human motivation, and the pure experience of being human; the human condition. These reasons make Wuthering Heights an important novel, even to this day. In this novel, Emily Bronti?? explores the theme love in different ways, with this itself creating a degree of tension.
She shows how love isn’t constant, and that it can be shown in different ways. Bronti?? challenges the whole idea of love in her time; the idea of finding a husband in your own class, settling down and falling in love; furthermore, making this novel highly controversial in the 1800’s. Heathcliff’s love for Cathy is unconditional. The wilderness of the moors where Wuthering Heights is set is reflected in Heathcliff’s character, and how he shows a very unconditional, passionate yet animalistic love for Cathy. This is signified when he says: ‘I cannot live without my life!
I cannot live without my soul’ The fact that he regards to Cathy as his soul shows that his love for Cathy is so passionate; he has given up everything for her. Heathcliff’s love for Cathy is also exposed in a darker element, which isn’t prim and proper at all, and in turn animalistic: ‘Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on!… Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. ‘ The fact that Heathcliff’s love for Cathy is so passionate and strong causes him to curse her soul; he cannot simply bear to go without her.
Due to Heathcliff’s obsession with Catherine, he ends up destroying all those around him to make those who “have” Catherine miserable. Where Heathcliff’s love for Cathy is influenced by nothing, Cathy’s love for Heathcliff is very different. Here, Bronti?? cleverly manages to show love as being inconstant which is as relative today as it was then. Although she doesn’t show her love for Heathcliff constantly, we are still aware it is there and that, deep down, she return’s Heathcliff’s love utterly; ‘My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary.
‘ The fact Bronti?? uses similes and this imagery to describe Cathy’s love for Heathcliff shows the true complexity of being in love, and how it can distress people deeply. Although she loves him, many things influence Cathy’s feelings for Heathcliff. She also wants status, power and money. Cathy often shows her desire and ambition to be wealthy (‘He will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood’) and also to have power and a high ranking in society. Even Nelly notices this about Cathy: ‘you love Mr Edgar, because he is handsome, and young, and cheerful, and rich, and loves you.
‘ As well as using Edgar as an object to gain her what she thinks she wants, she also uses Edgar as a puppet. This can be seen when Heathcliff comes back to see Cathy, for the reason that she uses him to see how much Edgar loves her, moreover making Heathcliff jealous (‘Edgar, I was defending you, and yours; and I wish Heathcliff may flog you sick’). Here Cathy portrays how we all want affection and love, and how we enjoy it when people are infatuated with ourselves; part of the human condition. Cathy’s tragic flaw is that she always wants what she cannot have, again something which is part of the human condition.
Cathy has an air about her in which she seems to love herself, and that she loves Heathcliff because she can see herself in Heathcliff: ‘Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind, as my own being’. He reflects her own love for the outdoors and for nature, even his name represents nature. A heath is a barren, wild landscape and a Cliff is hard, dangerous, pivotal point. Both of these things are representative of Heathcliff’s persona and behaviour. Emily Bronti?? also explores class and society in this novel, and how it can affect relationships, especially that of Cathy & Heathcliff.