orphan brought to live at Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff
falls into an intense, unbreakable love with Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter
Catherine. After Mr. Earnshaw dies, his resentful son Hindley abuses Heathcliff
and treats him as a servant. Because of her desire for social prominence,
Catherine marries Edgar Linton instead of Heathcliff. Heathcliff’s
humiliation and misery prompt him to spend most of the rest of his life
seeking revenge on Hindley, his beloved Catherine, and their respective
children (Hareton and young Catherine). A powerful, fierce, and
often cruel man, Heathcliff acquires a fortune and uses his extraordinary
powers of will to acquire both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross
Grange, the estate of Edgar Linton.
in-depth analysis of Heathcliff.
daughter of Mr. Earnshaw and his wife, Catherine falls powerfully
in love with Heathcliff, the orphan Mr. Earnshaw brings home from
Liverpool. Catherine loves Heathcliff so intensely that she claims
they are the same person. However, her desire for social advancement
motivates her to marry Edgar Linton instead. Catherine is free-spirited,
beautiful, spoiled, and often arrogant. She is given to fits of
temper, and she is torn between her wild passion for Heathcliff
and her social ambition. She brings misery to both of the men who
in-depth analysis of Catherine.
but rather spoiled as a boy, Edgar Linton grows into a tender, constant,
but cowardly man. He is almost the ideal gentleman: Catherine accurately describes
him as “handsome,” “pleasant to be with,” “cheerful,” and “rich.”
However, this full assortment of gentlemanly characteristics, along
with his civilized virtues, proves useless in Edgar’s clashes with
his foil, Heathcliff, who gains power over his wife, sister,
Dean (known formally as Ellen Dean) serves as the chief narrator
of Wuthering Heights
. A sensible, intelligent,
and compassionate woman, she grew up essentially alongside Hindley
and Catherine Earnshaw and is deeply involved in the story she tells.
She has strong feelings for the characters in her story, and these feelings
complicate her narration.
narration forms a frame around Nelly’s; he serves as an intermediary
between Nelly and the reader. A somewhat vain and presumptuous gentleman,
he deals very clumsily with the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood
comes from a more domesticated region of England, and he finds himself
at a loss when he witnesses the strange household’s disregard for
the social conventions that have always structured his world. As
a narrator, his vanity and unfamiliarity with the story occasionally
lead him to misunderstand events.
- For clarity’s sake, this SparkNote refers
to the daughter of Edgar Linton and the first Catherine as “young
Catherine.” The first Catherine begins her life as Catherine Earnshaw
and ends it as Catherine Linton; her daughter begins as Catherine
Linton and, assuming that she marries Hareton after the
end of the story, goes on to become Catherine Earnshaw. The mother
and the daughter share not only a name, but also a tendency toward headstrong
behavior, impetuousness, and occasional arrogance. However, Edgar’s
influence seems to have tempered young Catherine’s character,
and she is a gentler and more compassionate creature than her mother.
- The son of Hindley and Frances Earnshaw, Hareton
is Catherine’s nephew. After Hindley’s death, Heathcliff assumes
custody of Hareton, and raises him as an uneducated field worker,
just as Hindley had done to Heathcliff himself. Thus Heathcliff
uses Hareton to seek revenge on Hindley. Illiterate and quick-tempered, Hareton
is easily humiliated, but shows a good heart and a deep desire to
improve himself. At the end of the novel, he marries young Catherine.
- Heathcliff’s son by Isabella. Weak, sniveling, demanding,
and constantly ill, Linton is raised in London by his mother and
does not meet his father until he is thirteen years old, when he
goes to live with him after his mother’s death. Heathcliff despises Linton,
treats him contemptuously, and, by forcing him to marry the young
Catherine, uses him to cement his control over Thrushcross Grange
after Edgar Linton’s death. Linton himself dies not long after this
- Catherine’s brother, and Mr. Earnshaw’s son. Hindley
resents it when Heathcliff is brought to live at Wuthering Heights.
After his father dies and he inherits the estate, Hindley begins
to abuse the young Heathcliff, terminating his education and forcing
him to work in the fields. When Hindley’s wife Frances dies shortly
after giving birth to their son Hareton, he lapses into alcoholism
- Edgar Linton’s sister, who falls in love with Heathcliff
and marries him. She sees Heathcliff as a romantic figure, like
a character in a novel. Ultimately, she ruins her life by falling
in love with him. He never returns her feelings and treats her as
a mere tool in his quest for revenge on the Linton family.
and Hindley’s father. Mr. Earnshaw adopts Heathcliff and brings
him to live at Wuthering Heights. Mr. Earnshaw prefers Heathcliff
to Hindley but nevertheless bequeaths Wuthering Heights to Hindley
when he dies.
and Hindley’s mother, who neither likes nor trusts the orphan Heathcliff
when he is brought to live at her house. She dies shortly after
Heathcliff’s arrival at Wuthering Heights.
long-winded, fanatically religious, elderly servant at Wuthering
Heights. Joseph is strange, stubborn, and unkind, and he speaks
with a thick Yorkshire accent.
- Hindley’s simpering, silly wife, who treats Heathcliff
cruelly. She dies shortly after giving birth
and Isabella’s father and the proprietor of Thrushcross Grange when
Heathcliff and Catherine are children. An established member of
the gentry, he raises his son and daughter to be well-mannered
Linton’s somewhat snobbish wife, who does not like Heathcliff to
be allowed near her children, Edgar and Isabella. She teaches Catherine
to act like a gentle-woman, thereby instilling her with social ambitions.
housekeeper at Wuthering Heights during the latter stages of the
Linton’s lawyer, who arrives too late to hear Edgar’s final instruction
to change his will, which would have prevented Heathcliff from obtaining control
over Thrushcross Grange.