Wuthering Heights is about two people making increasingly dramatic declarations of love at each other until one of them dies. It’s also about wealth and social status and the destructive nature of obsessive love, but mostly it’s about Catherine saying things like “I WOULD DIE FOR YOU, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M CURRENTLY DOING,” and Heathcliff responding with “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DYING JUST TO SPITE ME. YOU’RE TERRIBLE, AND I LOVE YOU.” Today I thought we’d rank the various dramatic ways in which these two lunatics express affection. Starting with…
9. “If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as I could in a day.”
Heathcliff and Catherine are hopelessly in love with each other, but this is the 1800s, so Catherine has chosen to marry someone else for money and stability. As you can see, Heathcliff takes it about as well as any other lovelorn sociopath with a penchant for drama.
8. “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
This is Catherine talking, and I want it on the record that I don’t think this one is unnecessarily dramatic. I’ve made similar declarations about Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits.
7. “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”
That’s how I want people to describe the love they feel for me. Not incredible, not mind-blowing, not even remotely pleasant, but THERE.
6. “Are you possessed with a devil,” he pursued, savagely, “to talk in that manner to me when you are dying? Do you reflect that all those words will be branded in my memory, and eating deeper eternally after you have left me? You know you lie to say I have killed you: and, Catherine, you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!”
Are you an idiot, Catherine? Are you some kind of dumb, dying idiot? You know I love you!
5. “Two words would comprehend my future—death and hell: existence, after losing her, would be hell.”
Again, I don’t think this is too dramatic. I say this about my dog DAILY.
4. “I’ll not lie there by myself: they may bury me twelve feet deep, and throw the church down over me, but I won’t rest till you are with me. I never will!”
Who among us HASN’T told the person we love “I hope you DIE”?
3. “I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they’ll blight you—they’ll damn you. You loved me—what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—Oh, God! would you like to lie with your soul in the grave?”
It’s a bold move by Heathcliff—blaming Catherine for dying and lamenting his own robust health all in the same breath—but you don’t get to be one of the most enduring Byronic heroes of the nineteenth century by being demure.
2. “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
We are all aware, are we not, that true love is when your identity is so intertwined with another person’s that you can’t marry them because it would be just like marrying yourself. “WE ARE LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME PERSON, OUR SOULS ARE THE SAME” is what I say to my significant other instead of “I love you.”
1. “Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then…Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
Nothing to see here, folks! Just a normal conversation between two barely co-dependent people who are obsessed with each other a healthy amount!