Love and passion in Wuthering Heights - Maxicours

Love and passion in Wuthering Heights

Objectifs
  • Découvrir un aspect de la thématique d'étude l'expression des émotions
  • Approfondir ses connaissances sur la relation tumultueuse des protagonistes du roman d'Emily Brontë, Les Hauts de Hurlevent
Points clés
  • Les Hauts de Hurlevent (Wuthering Heights) est le seul roman de l'écrivaine anglaise Emily Brontë.
  • L'histoire d'amour que se vouent Catherine et Heathcliff est au cœur de l'intrigue :
    • leur amour est profond et mutuel, mais ils ne peuvent le vivre pleinement, à cause de leur rang social (ou du destin ?)
    • cette relation obsessionnelle s'est développée depuis l'enfance
    • elle est la source de la plupart des conflits du roman
  • Leur amour contrarié fera souffrir de nombreuses personnes autour d'eux. En effet, Catherine et Heathcliff se marie chacun de leur côté à quelqu'un qu'ils n'aiment pas, pour des raisons d'argent et de vengeance.
  • La haine n'étant jamais loin de la passion, cette relation n'est pas exempte d'une certaine violence.

 

Wuthering Heights is a novel written by Emily Brontë in 1847, and even if it is her only novel it is now a classic of English literature. Although the story tackles a lot of themes, it is first and foremost a love story which is depicted throughout the pages of the novel, and more especially the love that two characters, Catherine and Heathcliff, bear for each other.

1. The Plot

The story begins as Mr Earnshaw, Catherine and Hindly’s father, returns to Wuthering Heights from Liverpool and brings back a poor boy named Heathcliff. Hindly hates him but Cathy and he develop a very passionate relationship. When Mr Earnshaw dies, Hindly takes control of Wuthering Heights, marries Frances and out of jealousy treats Heathcliff as a servant.

Soon afterwards, Cathy meets the Lintons who live at Thrushcross Grange and falls in love with Edgar. She becomes socially ambitious and Heathcliff understands she cannot love him anymore because of his social status. Consequently, he leaves Wuthering heights. In the meanwhile, Hindly and Frances have a son, Hareton, the last descendant of the family. But Frances die and Hindly progressively sinks into alcoholism.

Though she understands that she does not love Edgar for the good reasons, Catherine accepts to marry him but she is still in love with Heathcliff, declaring “I am Heathcliff”.

Three years later, Heathcliff returns and because of Hindly’s behavior becomes the owner of Wuthering heights. But he cannot live without Cathy and as both constantly argue, she falls ill and dies after giving birth to Catherine Linton. Though he does not love her Heathcliff marries Isabella, Edgar’s sister, and they have a son, Linton Heathcliff. Later, he will force an arranged marriage between his son and Cathy Linton so as to take his revenge on Edgar. When Edgar and Linton die, Heathcliff will own both Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights.

But as Cathy and Hareton now love each other, they become the new owners of the two properties after Heathcliff’s death.

2. Love And Passion

Wuthering Heights is one of the greatest love stories in literature. It is based on the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff. After hating him, Catherine quickly comes to love him, and the two children soon become inseparable, spending their time on the moors. Even as a child, Catherine “was much too fond of Heathcliff” and an obsessive relationship developed between them. Heathcliff is obsessed with Catherine and he cannot stand it when she spends some time at the Lintons’:

Look at the almanac on that wall.… The crosses are for the evenings you have spent with the Lintons’, the dots for those spent with me.

Catherine’s marriage with Edgar will destroy him though Catherine only married Edgar for his money and social rank. Infatuated with Heathcliff she cannot forget him as she confides to her servant:

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.… Nelly, I am Heathcliff.

And it is his deep love for Catherine which makes Heathcliff return to Wuthering Heights after three years. But they will never be reunited as Catherine dies, leaving Heathcliff –and Edgar– broken-hearted.

Love between Catherine and Heathcliff is stronger than any other in the novel and it is the source of most conflicts but also, sometimes, of violence between the two of them.
The violence between Heathcliff and Cathy aggravates as the story progresses. They scream, shout, or provoke each other, and yet they suffer when they are separated. Indeed, Cathy continually declares that she cannot be without Heathcliff.
Passion replaces hatred, and they are frequently violent with each other.

3. Conclusion

Like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights describes the passion that exists between two lovers who, in spite of a deep and mutual love, cannot live it to the full because destiny interferes in their relationship. But with the marriage of Cathy and Hareton, the novel ends on a positive note as their love is not based on violence, it is sincere and true.

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