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Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Love in the Relationships Between Edgar and Catherine and Catherine and Heathcliff.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Love in the Relationships Between Edgar and Catherine and Catherine and Heathcliff. The two most significant relationships in Catherine's life are with Edgar and Heathcliff; however, they could not be more different. Her relationship with Heathcliff is one of raw, natural passion not social stamina, whereas her marriage to Edgar is one based on convention. Her two lovers come to represent the two conflicting parts of her identity and it is the internal struggle between these conflicting impulses that can be said to lead to her death. As the novel opens, Mr Lockwood says that Heathcliff is a 'dark-skinned gypsy in aspect in dress and manners a gentleman...' He also observes that Heathcliff will 'love and hate equally.' His description of casual violence lack of manners or consideration for other people which characterizes Heathcliff is only a hint of the atmosphere of the whole novel, in which that violence is contrasted with more genteel and civilized ways of living represented by the Lintons. When Nelly Dean begins to narrate the story of Heathcliff's past, she describes him with discrimination. When Heathcliff is first introduced, Mr Earnshaw says '...but you must e'en take it as a gift of God, though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil.' Bront� implies early on that Heathcliff has gifts from both God and the Devil (good and bad characteristics). ...read more.

Middle

Heathcliff cannot follow her. He tries to follow her, '...Nelly make me decent...' and he wants to have the effect Edgar has on Catherine: 'I wish I had light hair and fair skin, and was dressed and behaved as well, and had a chance of being as rich as he will be...' Although Cathy still cares for the things she did with him during their childhood, she is still under a lot of pressure to become a lady and she is vain enough to enjoy the admiration and approval she receives from Edgar, Hindley and his wife. Just as the window separated the Wuthering heights children from the Lintons in the last chapter, a material object separates Catherine from Heathcliff. The fine dress she wears is a very real boundary between the old friends: it must be sacrificed (smudged and crumpled) if she is to embrace Heathcliff. The dress is also a metaphor for the fact that id Catherine is to associate with Heathcliff, the wildness of her character will be exposed. As Catherine is wants to enjoy both Edgar's admiration and Heathcliff's love, this leads her to 'adopt a double character without exactly intending to deceive anyone...' Edgar represents the side of Catherine that satisfies her vanity and her yearning for social consequence; Heathcliff represents her natural and real emotions. Catherine has to change in order to be loved by Edgar. ...read more.

Conclusion

This all-consuming love is revealed when he explains how he tried to dig up her body on the day she was buried. Heathcliff is pleased to see that Catherine still looks like herself after eighteen years but claims that if she had been 'dissolved into earth or words,' he would have still been happy. His idea of heaven is to be completely united with Catherine in body, as well as in spirit and this could just as well mean to disintegrate into dust together as to be joined in the act of love. In the final two chapters, we are given an extraordinary window into Heathcliff's mind in the chapter. Whenever he looks at something, he sees Catherine in it; he hears her voice in every sound. This is Bront�'s idea of true haunting, which seems to resemble madness rather than scary noises in the dark. If the ghost of Catherine is at work, she has found her home in Heathcliff's mind and her vocation is distorting his perception and his ability to communicate with the outside world. The presentation of love in the relationships between Catherine and Edgar and Catherine and Heathcliff are clearly profoundly contrasting. Heathcliff represents passion and nature, whereas Edgar represents culture. These two characteristics symbolize the duality in Cathy's own personality and it is her struggle between the two conflicting impulses that eventually consumes her. However, when Heathcliff and Edgar die and are both buried alongside Catherine, we can see how Bront� portrays that the two men will always have a place in her heart. ...read more.

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