Paradoxical love as seen in the Emily’s Wuthering Heights

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The book depicts how people show their feelings for one another. Characters' expressions of love include both acts and sentences. However, there is a contradiction between passion and storytelling. This essay would demonstrate how characters communicate their desire for each other, as well as the paradoxes that can be seen in their love. A paradox can be described as any inconsistency, and it will be examined in what characters say to each other, voicing contradictory emotions or acts. Heathcliff and Catherine love each other and seem to be very close and Heathcliff does everything she is asked to do by Catherine. With this, it is clear that the bond of Heathcliff to Catherine is intense and he has unquestionable loyalty for her. They both find comfort from each other and such can be seen at the time when Mr. Earnshaw passed away. At that point, they are upset and sad and look for comfort from one another which show great caring for each other. Throughout their childhood, they are seen to enjoy the company of each other and find solace (Emily 2015).

Catherine looked for a time to teach Heathcliff whatever she was being taught. Both made a promise to be together at all times and even when they happened to be punished together, they used to forget all the pain they went through. Their affection continues to deepen as they grow and that can be seen through their actions. Even though Heathcliff was not treated well by the residents, he did not care and had no reason as he did not originate here. It was the origin home of Catherine, and despite knowing everyone in this place, she used to disobey orders to be with Heathcliff clarifying the love they had for each other.

At the time when Catherine got back to Heights, the first thing she enquired about was Heathcliff. She kissed him on his cheek when she was greeting him. Heathcliff envied and hated Edgar as he saw him as a competitor of Catherine’s love. Catherine cries and is seen to be in deep pain for the sake of Heathcliff. Catherine tried to steal to provide for Heathcliff who was locked up, and when she got in Heathcliff's room, she had to be coaxed to come out. This show great care she had for Heathcliff. Heathcliff told Nelly that he is willing to give anything Catherine would like even if she chose to be married by Edgar (Emily 2003).

Catherine is also fond of Edgar even though she cared for Heathcliff more. Her caring for Heathcliff can be seen in action while for Edgar it can be seen through words. Catherine confesses that Edgar asked her hand for marriage and she had accepted. She, however, claims she accepted given Edgar was wealthy, young, pleasant, handsome and he did love her. Catherine recognized that in her heart and her soul she was wrong as she did not love Edgar as much as she loved Heathcliff. Catherine speaks her heart out and wishes she had the chance to marry Heathcliff as she loves him. Catherine marries Edgar for the sake of Heathcliff so that she could have an opportunity to help him and she believes there is nothing that will ever keep them apart. Catherine says that her love for Linton is bound to change in time, but her love for Heathcliff will exist all her life, and she goes to the extent of calling herself, Heathcliff. Heathcliff left after hearing what Catherine was saying, and Catherine went to look for him outside despite the rain from where she got sick. Catherine was very delightful when Heathcliff returned, and Edgar who married her advised her to show happiness and not be so absurd.

It is a paradox that Catherine decides to marry Edgar and yet the great love she had was for Heathcliff. Heathcliff’s love was similar to eternity and rocks while the one for Edgar was changeable and similar to foliage and still, she made a choice for love that could change (Xiaoli 2015).

Catherine married to have a chance to help Heathcliff. Nelly stated clearly that Heathcliff could not accept money originating from the Lintons. Catherine knew Heathcliff better in comparison with any other person and ought to have known that he could not at any given time to accept such which is paradoxical. Catherine said that she could not agree to marry Edgar given that she was to be separated with Heathcliff. She went on to tell Nell that Edgar was to learn to tolerate Heathcliff. With this Catherine seems to be unaware of the reaction of Heathcliff upon hearing her marriage with Edgar and yet she is supposed to have known better in comparison with any other person. We are aware the response of Heathcliff when we see him leaving. Catherine expected Heathcliff would not mind her marrying Edgar and at the same time expected Edgar could not have any displeasure with Heathcliff since she loved him is a paradox. Through their personalities, it is clear that they could not let go any resentment they had for each other. They had been enemies from the time they met, and Heathcliff is seen to mark the days he was together with Catherine and also the days she was together with the Lintons.

Catherine went against her true nature and feelings by choosing to marry Edgar, and this can be seen when she said that she was convinced to have gone the wrong way in her soul and heart. However, she still went through with the same.

Catherine did claim that she was Heathcliff and Heathcliff was more of her than she was. She also claimed that both their souls comprised similar things and that the miseries she had we miseries of Heathcliff (Forsgren, Sofie 2013). It is a paradox as there is no way she could be Heathcliff as they were different people who could not be one or each other at any given time. If interpreted literally it is not possible. If construed as a metaphor to mean similar feelings or personalities, it is not possible as both did not share similar opinions and thoughts on everything. Catherine had said that Heathcliff did not have a capability of feeling the love yet she was feeling. If truly they were one, she should have expected him to have the ability of similar emotions.


Love and affection between Heathcliff and Catherine were extreme and powerful. Despite any wrong that one did for the other, their strong feelings remained. They dearly held and thought of each other. Catherine always defended Heathcliff and enjoyed spending time with him. Heathcliff used to say things that showed the great love he had for Catherine, and a good example is when he explained to her that he left and was struggling only because of her. Paradoxes are seen in the way they both love each other with the main one being how Catherine thought she was same as Heathcliff.

Works Cited

Brontë, Emily. "Wuthering heights: The 1847 text, background and criticism." (2003).

Brontë, Emily. The Annotated Wuthering Heights. Harvard University Press, 2014.

Forsgren, Sofie. "“I so identify myself with him”: Identification in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall." (2013).

Johnson, Matthew W. "“All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil”: Connections between Person and Place in Wuthering Heights." Philologia 8 (2016).

Koshy, Sharon Susan, and B. A. English. "Professor C. Monsingh Daniel Victorian Age 10 August 2014 Wuthering Heights: A Critical Study." (2014).

Sahin, Anjumon. "Wuthering Heights: A Challenge to the Victorian Universe." International Journal of Research 1.4 (2014): 586-592.

Stevenson, John Allen. "" Heathcliff is Me!": Wuthering Heights and the Question of Likeness." Nineteenth-Century Literature 43.1 (1988): 60-81.

Tytler, Graeme. "‘He’s more myself than I am’: The Problem of Comparisons in Wuthering Heights." Brontë Studies 42.2 (2017): 109-117.

Xiaoli, B. A. O. "Paradoxes Concerning the Love in Wuthering Heights." Cross-Cultural Communication 11.6 (2015): 89-93.

September 01, 2021



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