Theories Explained from Wuthering Heights | Teen Ink

Theories Explained from Wuthering Heights

September 29, 2012
By Confused_scheherazade ELITE, Brooklyn, New York, New York
Confused_scheherazade ELITE, Brooklyn, New York, New York
132 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I know nothing, but of miracles.

Past Tense

One of the major theories explored in Wuthering Heights are the consequences that result from strict social hierarchies and the implications they impose on love and temperament. The pivotal conflict in Wuthering Heights was imputed from the tragic love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff, the main protagonists driving the story. Even though Wuthering Heights was separated in an isolated countryside manor from urban England, the mannerisms of 18th century English society were still prevalent, as was displayed in Catherine’s haughty desire to become “the greatest woman of the neighborhood” The primary inclination as to why Catherin married Edger, was derived from her social ambition; why she had also discriminated Heathcliff for the reason that, “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff.” This rejection and perfidiousness in these words proved to be a catalyst, as it compelled Heathcliff to abandon Wuthering Heights in search of fortune and means of revenge. Consequently, Heathcliff returned home a gentleman, though this was only limited to wealth and manners, as throughout the book he evolved into a opportunist, having taken advantage of others’ adversity, such as Hindly’s and Edger’s deaths. Similarity, the capriciousness of the contemporary caste system was seen again with young Catherine as her wealth and property was stolen through Heathcliff’s ruses, this having reduced to a servant in his household before eventually having prosperity returned to her name again upon his death.

Present Tense

Furthermore, another theory reconnoitered in Wuthering Heights is the triviality of revenge, a theme that is explicitly shown by the protagonist Heathcliff, as revenge is as inane as his desire for it. Throughout a majority of the novel, Heathcliff incurs his desire for retaliation upon the majority of the characters who have spurned him, his victims including Hindley, Edger, and even Catherine. One of Heathcliff’s principal revenge streams from the abuse inflicted on him by his childhood tormentor, Hindley. As a result upon Hindly’s demise, he gains control the Wuthering Heights property and over Hareton, Hindley’s son. In this extant, Heathcliff takes the role of tormentor from its predecessor, Hindley, in a hypocritical reversal maltreating Hareton as had been treated by his father. He further embarks on his quest for revenge, by simultaneously retaliating against Edger, and even Catherine, the woman he continues to love, by attacking their daughter, young Catherine. However this proves to be inconsequential, as Catherine and Hareton appear resilient from his abuse, finding an asylum and solace within their love for each other, a convergence that has ironically arisen from their coactive confinement. Thus, eventually Heathcliff learns and accepts that no matter how much property he acquires or who he hurts, he will never reclaim that which he desire most, Catherine, in mortality. Therefore, Heathcliff loses the desire for vengeance and can look passively toward his future union with Catherine in the afterlife.

Future Tense
Masochistic tenderness will often be a prevalent emotion that the audience will see in Wuthering Heights’ protagonist, Heathcliff, who in this literary loop, that is the rereading of a novel, will always refuse to acknowledge his depravity in sight of his adversity. An often-hackneyed element in romantic literature, both of Bronte’s time and today’s, is that of a character who remains to be seen as the tragic, yet romantic hero. Humans will always be generally susceptible to pathos, a type of propaganda that the speaker executes to his audience about the subject in speech, and the ingenious tactic to make the audience see it as the speaker would have wished them to see it. Regardless of class, all humans have a perceptive of pain and suffering, and holding the capacity for compassion and empathy Several scholars agree that Emily’s Bronte’s writing style will continually entice readers, imagining the Heathcliff that would have been, had it not been for the pain from his childhood abuse and catastrophic love for Catherine that leads him on his malicious path for revenge. Similarly, the audience resembles Isabella, a character who will fall in love with Heathcliff, though only peripherally, and who will repeatedly stay with him despite his cruelty and incorrigible nature. There will always be a predominant conflict in such an abusive, one-sided love with this protagonist, as the audience will remain ascetic, and continue to ignore Heathcliff descent into further corruption. It is no wonder that an audience will continually sympathize with Heathcliff, as Bronte’s illusory eloquence acts as a ruse to trick future audiences into favoring optimism, even for the salvation of Heathcliff’s character that does not appear plausible.

The author's comments:
This was written for my SAT class after reviewing the specifics between past, present, and future tenses.

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