The Analysis of Catherine’s Personalities in Wuthering Heights


校园英语·下旬 2016年8期

【Abstract】As the most important heroine in Wuthering Heights, Catherine strongly captures readers mind with her unique and complicated personalities which greatly causes her life and love tragedy. This paper analyzes changes of Catherines personalities in her three life phrases.

【Key words】Catherine; personalities

In Wuthering Heights, protagonists vivid personalities contribute to the significance of this novel. Specifically, as the heroine, Catherines personalities strongly attracts readers. Her dual and complicated personalities in three different phrases of her life contribute to her love tragedy and her miserable death.

Firstly, before getting to know the Lintons, Catherine loves Heathcliff passionately and unrestrictedly, which is the happiest years in her life. Although Catherine comes from a rich, middle-class family, she is brought up without much family education and restriction. She is a wild, rebellious, and bold girl. She grows up with Heathcliff, whom she gradually falls in love with. They spend most of their happy free childhood in the wide moors. During this period, she loves Heathcliff wholeheartedly because they love is built up on the base of understanding, and they both stand together to rebel against the family and other restricting rules. Later, when Catherine is on her deathbed, all she can remember is the happy memory spent with the young Heathcliff in her childhood.

Secondly, she suffers from controversial personalities. After Catherine gets to know Edgar Linton who deeply loves her, she is in a dilemma of choosing a husband between Heathercliff and Edgar. She is so hesitant and confused that she doesnt know whether she should be true to her own heart to be with Heathcliff, or get married with Edgar. Her controversial personalities is showed by the names she repeatedly writes on her books as Catherine Heathcliff or Catherine Linton. At last, she chooses to marry Linton, which betrays her true feeling and makes her rest life regrettable. However, she longs for the comfortable and rich life. She is attracted by the decent and civilized lifestyle of the Linton family. She is motivated by the desire of high social status, economic abundance, and a rich lifestyle. She is afraid that “If Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars?”(Bronte, 62-65)

Although she refuses to marry Heathcliff, Catherine loves Heathcliff more deeply than anything else in the world. She compares her love to Linton as the “changeable foliage”. However, she thinks her love to Heathcliff as the “eternal rocks”. She says that she and Heathcliff are essentially the same person. She insists that, “Heathcliff is more myself than I am. I am Heathcliff!”(Bronte, 65) Nevertheless, she cannot marry him because they would lead a poor life like beggars. Unfortunately, her choice of marrying Linton finally proves to be a wrong decision, because she never regains happiness after her marriage.

Thirdly, after Heathcliff returns back to Wuthering Heights, Catherines personalities is mixed with hesitance and conflict, which means that she wants to keep Linton as her husband, and she also hopes Heathcliff be her lover. After she marries Linton, she tries to behave elegantly and courteous, just like the conventional housewives of the gentry class. However, she doesnt really understand Linton and feels his lifestyle boring, and Catherine describes their difference as “Edgar is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.” (Bronte, 64) Three years after Catherine marries Linton, Heathcliff returns home. When Catherine meets him, her inner passion to Heathcliff arouses again. She hopes Heathcliff and Linton could get along with each other harmoniously. Moreover, she doesnt plan to choose between these two men, and she wants to get their love at the same time. Nevertheless, it is impossible for Edgar and Heathcliff to make friends. Being tortured by inner conflict and dilemma, Catherine begins to get sick and almost insane, which finally leads to her tragedy death. Only with her death, she can escape from the dilemma of choosing between Edgar and Heathcliff.

To boil it down into the briefest summary, as the novels heroine, Catherine deeply impresses readers with her dual personalities and her conflicting emotion towards Heathcliff and Edgar. Her personalities make this book an everlasting classic in literature.


[1]Bronte,Emily.2004.Wuthering Heights[M].Xian:World Publishing Corporation.

[2]Pinion,F.B.1975.A Bronte Companion[M].Bristol:Western Printing Services Ltd.



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