The Three Faces of Wuthering Heights
In Wuthering Heights, Bronte depicts the turbulence of the psyche through her characters. Heathcliff, Edgar and Catherine are portrayed not as three distinct personas, but instead as three parts of a single psyche. Heathcliff, Edgar and Catherine represent what Freud later termed as the id, the superego and the ego, respectively. Battling society, Heathcliff follows his own animalistic desires as the id, refusing to succumb to cultural dictates. As the superego, Edgar articulates the British societal precepts, repressing the natural instincts of a person. Catherine, the ego, constantly struggles between her id and superego, Heathcliff and Edgar, searching for the balance. The interaction between these characters crafts the plot not solely of the novel, but also of the mind.
Heathcliff embodies the dark side of the psyche. At his first introduction to society, he is described as being "as dark almost as if it came from the devil" (Bronte 26). The immediate association of Heathcliff with the devil establishes him, like Satan, as the antithesis of society, fighting the dictates and morals set by the surrounding culture. With original sin, man is inherently evil, making his innate instincts, which compose the id, opposite...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 817 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6108 literature essays, 1713 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in