Mr. Earnshaw's daughter and Hindley's sister. She is also Heathcliff's foster sister and love interest. She marries Edgar Linton and has a daughter, also named Catherine. Catherine is beautiful and charming, but she is never as civilized as she pretends to be. In her heart she is always a wild girl playing on the moors with Heathcliff. She regards it as her right to be loved by all, and has an unruly temper. Heathcliff usually calls her Cathy; Edgar usually calls her Catherine.
The daughter of the older Catherine and Edgar Linton. She has all her mother's charm without her wildness, although she is by no means submissive and spiritless. Edgar calls her Cathy. She marries Linton Heathcliff to become Catherine Heathcliff, and then marries Hareton to be Catherine Earnshaw.
A plain, fairly well-off farmer with few pretensions but a kind heart. He is a stern father to Catherine. He takes in Heathcliff despite his family's protests.
Isabella's older brother, who marries Catherine Earnshaw and fathers Catherine Linton. In contrast to Heathcliff, he is a gently bred, refined man, a patient husband and a loving father. His faults are a certain effeminacy, and a tendency to be cold and unforgiving when his dignity is hurt.
One of the main narrators. She has been a servant with the Earnshaws and the Lintons for all her life, and knows them better than anyone else. She is independent and high-spirited, and retains an objective viewpoint on those she serves. She is called Nelly by those who are on the most egalitarian terms with her: Mr. Earnshaw, the older Catherine, and Heathcliff.
Hindley's wife, a young woman of unknown background. She seems rather flighty and giddy to Ellen, and displays an irrational fear of death, which is explained when she dies of tuberculosis.
The son of Hindley and Frances; he marries the younger Catherine. For most of the novel, he is rough, rustic, and uncultured, having been carefully kept from all civilizing influences by Heathcliff. He grows up to be superficially like Heathcliff, but is really much more sweet-tempered and forgiving. He never blames Heathcliff for having disinherited him, for example, and remains his oppressor's staunchest ally.
The only son of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw, and Catherine's older brother. He is a bullying, discontented boy who grows up to be a violent alcoholic when his beloved wife, Frances, dies. He hates Heathcliff because he felt supplanted in his father's affections by the other boy, and Heathcliff hates him even more in return.
A foundling taken in by Mr. Earnshaw and raised with his children. Of unknown descent, he represents wild and natural forces which often seem amoral and dangerous for society. His almost inhuman devotion to Catherine is the moving force in his life, seconded by his vindictive hatred for all those who stand between him and his beloved. He is cruel but magnificent in his consistency, and the reader can never forget that at the heart of the grown man lies the abandoned, hungry child of the streets of Liverpool.
Edgar's younger sister, who marries Heathcliff to become Isabella Heathcliff. Her son is named Linton Heathcliff. Before she marries Heathcliff, she is a rather shallow-minded young lady, pretty and quick-witted but a little foolish (as can be seen by her choice of husbands). Her unhappy marriage brings out an element of cruelty in her character: when her husband treats her brutally, she rapidly grows to hate him with all her heart.
A household servant at Wuthering Heights who outlives all his masters. His brand of religion is unforgiving for others and self-serving for himself. His heavy Yorkshire accent gives flavor to the novel.
The local doctor who appears when people are sick or dying. He is a sympathetic and intelligent man, whose main concern is the health of his patients.
Mr. and Mrs. Linton
Edgar and Isabella's parents. They spoil their children and turn the older Catherine into a little lady, being above all concerned about good manners and behavior. They are unsympathetic to Heathcliff when he is a child.
The son of Heathcliff and Isabella. He combines the worst characteristics of both parents, and is effeminate, weakly, and cruel. He uses his status as an invalid to manipulate the tender-hearted younger Catherine. His father despises him. Linton marries Catherine and dies soon after.
The narrator of the novel. He is a gentleman from London, in distinct contrast to the other rural characters. He is not particularly sympathetic and tends to patronize his subjects.
The housekeeper at Wuthering Heights after Hindley's death and before Heathcliff's. She doesn't particularly understand the people she lives with, and stands in marked contrast to Ellen, who is deeply invested in them. She is an impatient but capable woman.
The Lintons' bulldog. Skulker attacks Cathy Earnshaw on her first visit to Thrushcross Grange.
The Lintons' stable boy.
A lawyer in Gimmerton who briefly becomes involved with executing Edgar Linton's estate.
Wuthering Heights Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Wuthering Heights is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
As a child, Ellen's mother was a nurse to Hindley. Ellen fell into the role of companion to both Hindley and Catherine. In 1783, she came to Thrushcross Grange to be hired as Catherine's maid and remained as housekeeper after Catherine...
As the novel unfolds it becomes clear that Lockwood holds a sympathy fore the housemaid that he ordinarily would never have. He takes her narration at face value and sees her judgments as of a person beyond her station in life.