3 main themes of Wuthering Heights (Summary, Analysis,) Love

wuthering heights


The ‘Wuthering heights’ is admired not least for the power of its imagery, its complex structure, and its ambiguity, the very elements that confounded its first critics. Emily Bronte spent her short life mostly at home, and apart from her own fertile imagination, she drew her inspiration from the local landscape the surrounding moorlands and the regional architecture of the Yorkshire area-as well as her personal experience of religion, of folklore, and of illness and death. Dealing with themes of nature, cruelty, social position, and indestructibility of the spirit, Wuthering Heights has surpassed the more successful Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre in academic and popular circles. However, it is a love-based novel that goes through all these things or a very interesting creation based on the love of Catherine and Heathcliff.


The main objective of this article is to systematically illustrate the Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as a love story by comparing it to the qualities that should be in a love story.

Research problem

Wuthering Heights comes under realism and romanticism, but it contains many elements and ideas from the Gothic novel. The novel revolves around the strange love story between Catherine and Heathcliff. This love having a great impact on the other characters. This love  is very hard to characterize; from many critic’s point of view, we cannot know for sure if this love drives them mad or not. So, this study is to realize whether Wuthering Heights is a love story or not.


Books, and web article were used to gather the referent data and data was analyzed through the comparative methodology on the qualities that should be in a love story.


Romantic love takes many forms in Wuthering Heights: the grand passion of Heathcliff and Catherine, the insipid sentimental languishing of Lockwood, the coupleism of Hindley and Frances, the tame indulgence of Edgar, the romantic infatuation of Isabella, the puppy love of Cathy and Linton, and the flirtatious sexual attraction of Cathy and Hareton. These lovers, with the possible exception of Hareton and Cathy, are ultimately self-centered and ignore the needs, feelings, and claims of others; what matters is the lovers’ own feelings and needs.

Their love is an attempt to break the boundaries of self and to fuse with another to transcend the inherent separateness of the human condition; fusion with another will by uniting two incomplete individuals create a whole and achieve new sense of identity, a complete and unified identity. This need for fusion motivates Heathcliff’s determination to “absorb” Catherine’s corpse into his and for them to “dissolve” into each other so thoroughly that Edgar will not be able to distinguish Catherine from him.

 Love has become a religion in Wuthering Heights, providing a shield against the fear of death and the annihilation of personal identity or consciousness. This use of love would explain the inexorable connection between love and death in the characters’ speeches and actions.       

Nevertheless, Catherine and Heathcliff are inconsistent in their attitude toward death, which both unites and separates. After crying “Heathcliff! I only wish us never to be parted,” Catherine goes on to say, “I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world,” a wish which necessarily involves separation (Ch. xv, p. 125).

Conventional religion is presented negatively in the novel. The abandoned church at Gimmerton is decaying; the minister stops visiting Wuthering Heights because of Hindsley’s degeneracy. Catherine and Heathcliff reject Joseph’s religion, which is narrow, self-righteous, and punitive. Is conventional religion replaced by the religion of love, and does the fulfillment of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love after death affect the love of Hareton and Cathy in any way? Does the redemptive power of love, which is obvious in Cathy’s civilizing Hareton, relate to love-as-religion experienced by Heathcliff and Catherine?  

Is what Catherine and Heathcliff call love and generations of readers have accepted as Ideal Love really an addiction? Stanton Peele argues that romantic or passion love is in itself an addiction. What exactly does he mean by addiction? An addiction exists when a person’s attachment to a sensation, an object, or another person is such as to lessen his appreciation of and ability to deal with other things in his environment, or in himself, so that he has become increasingly dependent on that experience as his only source of gratification. Individuals who lack direction and commitment, who are emotionally unstable, or who are isolated and have few interests are especially vulnerable to addictions. An addictive love wants to break down the boundaries of identity and merge with the lover into one identity.

Lacking inner resources, love addicts look outside themselves for meaning and purpose, usually in people similar to themselves. Even if the initial pleasure and sense of fulfillment or satisfaction does not last, the love-addict is driven by need and clings desperately to the relationship and the lover. Catherine, for example, calls her relationship “a source of little visible delight, but necessary.” The loss of the lover, whether through rejection or death, causes the addict withdrawal symptoms, often extreme ones like illness, not eating, and faintness. The addict wants possession of the lover regardless of the consequences to the loved one; a healthy love, on the other hand, is capable of putting the needs of the beloved first.


In Wuthering Heights, Catherine falls in love with Heathcliff, a boy her father adopts. Their love is doomed, and both eventually marry other people. Catherine dies in childbirth, and Heathcliff joins her in death after enacting his revenge upon the next generation. At the end finally we can conclude that, Wuthering Heights as a life story revolving around love. because all these events and characters are based on the love of Catherine and Heathcliff. Love and the passion is the main theme and revenge, social class, etc. are seen as some of the other themes of this love story.

Therefore this story can be identified as a love story which grown up with commitments, patience, revenge and believing to archive each other’s love.

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