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Discuss the Nature of Love between Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights Essay


Wuthering heights has been called the greatest of love stories. The central characters which are Heathcliff and Catherine have a relationship of idealised romance and fused with gothic fantasy and horror. The two characters are allied so closely as to appear virtually complementary halves of the same character. There is an extreme closeness that exists between Catherine and Heathcliff. They prove incapable of living without one another, but also peculiarly unable to coexist happily. They are, in many ways, destructively alike their temperaments and psychologies are so similar that they connect perfectly, but for that very reason cannot combine. Cathy certainly sees her personality and her very being as totally embodied in Heathcliff: I am Heathcliff!

Theirs is a relationship divided between love and hate, the desire to posses and the desire to break free, the need to heal and the need to wound. Interestingly, the relationship remains unconsummated, nor is it even romantically physical; rather it is deeply spiritual. However there is sexual passion between the two and is resembled as an animal-like ferocity of their physical contact, teetering always on the brink of the desire o inflict physical pain, brings violence into romance in a daring and highly provocative way. In chapter 15 Heathcliff is represented as a greedy animal when he meets her in her frail condition at this point, the reader is struck by the brutality and power of the coming together of the two lovers. It is more like a battle between beasts than a meeting of passion. Catherine has been taken beyond the realms of human emotion. Nelly believes her to have passed out, and fears that she shock of such a meeting may literally released (Cathy) aliveshe seemed directly insensible. Both Heathcliff and Catherine here express their feelings physically rather than verbally, which is the opposite of what they used to do.

Cathy describes Heathcliff as my all in all. This emphasises further the extent to which Cathy and Heathcliff depend upon one another. Their devotion to and their dependence on each other is total. When Cathy dies condemns both to unrest and heart-rending sorrow. When this happens, Cathy and Heathcliff suffer extremely, in keeping with the extreme nature of their relationship, as they have lost the greater part of themselves in losing the other. The connection between Cathy and Heathcliff is eternal one; they are tied together by such powerful spiritual bonds that they can be said literally to haunt one another. Cathy clearly intimates that until they are reunited in death, no form of completion or closure will be possible.

The nature of their relationship fits in with the Gothics use of the darker regions of the human spirit; the darkness of the passions of Heathcliff and Cathy and their manifestation is clear to the reader.On the whole, it is unfulfilled relationship even when they are reunited in death at their bizarre union in the grave, the relationship is somehow unholy and incomplete, and in that their spirits cannot rest.

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