Monday, September 23, 2013

Can Wuthering Heights be free?

Each character in Wuthering Heights is running from something.In most cases it was Heathcliff. For Edgar it was the influence of Heathcliff, for Isabella it was her marriage to Heathcliff. For Linton it was the fear of what Heathcliff would do to him if he didn't do as his father asked. Those characters are just few examples of the influence and captivity Heathcliff brought to the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcrosh Grange. His looming evil was so vast that in order to truly escape his grasp, characters would have to die to be free. This ties in my big question. What were the characters in Wuthering Heights willing to pay to be free from Heathcliff? 

Isabella described Heathcliff by asking "Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?" Before she truly discovered the darkness in Heathcliff's heart, Isabella was nothing less that infactuated with Heathcliff's mysterious countenance. However, she soon found that she was captive to his influence and could not rid herself from his control. She had to question herself. What was she willing to pay to be free from the ever looming Heathcliff? She ran away from Wuthering Heights and moved into the city. In doing so she risked her own life along with the posibility of the lives of her loved ones. Isabella was willing to pay a large price in order to be free from her past with Heathcliff and Heathcliff in general.

Linton was the child of Heathcliff and Isabella. Heathcliff hated him. He used him for the sole purpose of revenge on Edgar, Isabella and in a round about way everyone who kept him away from his love Catherine. Linton was literally a prisoner to Heathcliff. He was forced to do whatever his father wanted him to do. Heathcliff wanted Linton to marry Cathy for whatever motive, so Linton set off to try to get Cathy to marry him. Linton expresses his innate fear of what Heathcliff will do to him if he doesn't fufill his orders. He says to Cathy "'I cannot bear it! Catherine, Catherine, I am a traitor, too, and I dare not tell you! But leave me, and I shall be killed! But leave me and I shall be killed! Dear Catherine, my life is in your hands: and you have said you loved me, and if you did, it wouldn't harm you." p. 321 Linton succumbs to the demands of Heathcliff, in doing so he sacrifices his pride, peace of mind, and eventually his life in hopes that one day he will be free from the puppet strings Heathcliff holds over him.

Though Heathcliff was the cause of the containment of many of the characters in Wuthering Heights, he himself was trapped and had to pay a heavy price to be free. His love for Catherine was so vast. He could hardly control himself. Though Catherine loved him, she said she would never marry him because he would always be there. He attempted to be free from her hold. He left his home and his "family" for three years. He paid the price of losing a home and the woman he loved in order to be free. However, his freedom didn't last and some could argue didn't exist at all.He was back to be with the one he loved in a matter of years He was always in Catherine's grasp and continued to be until the day he died. Heathcliff was not willing to pay the price in order to be free.

Freedom became almost unreachable in this novel. No matter how hard the characters tried, they could never be free. Isabella's son returned to the terrors of her husband. Linton died in captivity. Heathcliff couldn't leave Catherine and constantly acted in her name. Even when she was dead, he continued to be haunted by her ghost. No matter how much the characters wanted to leave and be free and were willing to pay the price in cost to leave, they couldn't. It was the pull of Wuthering Heights. No one could be free from the influence of the house. It wasn't Heathcliff or Catherine that was holding the people captive; it was the house. The only person who could have truly left was Lockwood, and even he came back. No matter the price one is willing to pay, some freedom cannot be bought. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Price Oedipus Paid

In the play Oedipus Rex, the main character was a slave to fate. As a baby his parents were told their son would kill his father and marry his mother. In an attempt to avoid that fate, they gave their baby away to be killed. Oedipus survived and became the prince of Corinth. Oedipus then traveled back to Thebes and fulfilled his terrible fate. He unintentionally killed his father Laius out of self-defense and married his mother Jocasta. Years later he needed to find who killed King Laius to save his people from the turmoil they were enduring and in doing so he found he killed Laius which led to the discovery that his wife/mother's prophesy came true. Because he committed a serious sin of incest his family was forever cursed. He nobly left his city and sacrificed his pride and happiness for his people. Though it truly was not his fault, he accepted his fate and the consequences that came with it, but only at the end. When he first heard the possibility that he (though unintentionally) committed incest, he fought it. He tried everything in his power to take out the prophet who told him his fate, Tiresias, and the man who advised him to see the prophet, Creon. He did not accept his fate and fought against it. However, he then realized he was not willing to pay the full price to escape his fate, and accepted it. As the country of Thebes soon found out what he had done, Oedipus' guilt was unbearable. He was entrapped by his conscious and guilt. He the prayed the heavy price, and left the children and country he loved, to escape the bonds of guilt.
Oedipus found that some freedom costs too much to pay. He could not pay the price to free from his fate. It may not even be possible to flee from one's fate. However, he did pay the price to no longer be captive to his immense guilt. I suppose, when it comes to freedom, some freedoms are worth paying the price. To no longer feel the embarrassment and guilt Oedipus felt, he gave up his family. But he dealt with the binds of fate. He paid the varied price for freedom from himself and sacrificed things and people he loved in the meantime.