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. 

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