Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff's Obsessions

Throughout Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff's personality could be defined as dark, menacing, and brooding. He is a dangerous character, with rapidly changing moods, capable of deep-seeded hatred, and incapable, it seems, of any kind of forgiveness or compromise. In the first 33 chapters, the text clearly establishes Heathcliff as an untamed, volatile, wild man and establishes his great love of Catherine and her usage of him as the source of his ill humor and resentment towards many other characters. However, there are certain tensions, contradictions, and ambiguities present in Chapter 34 that establish the true intensity Heathcliff's feelings towards Catherine; feelings so intense that they border on a jealous obsession.

Chapter 34 begins with a tension in regard to Heathcliff's disposition. Since Heathcliff's countenance has seldom expressed anything but a sullen disposition, certainly nothing even remotely resembling joy, it comes as somewhat of a surprise when in the last chapter, young Cathy, upon seeing Heathcliff, reports that he looks, "almost bright and cheerful -- No, almost nothing -- very much excited, and wild and glad (276)!" This is entirely unlike the Heathcliff that has been established...

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