Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff and Cathy's Relationship as a Symbol of Breaking Normal Moral and Social Codes 12th Grade

In the words of Professor Fred Botting, within the Gothic, “transgression is important not only as an interrogation of received rules and values, but in the identification, reconstitution or transformation of limits.” Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights focuses on the transgression of social and moral boundaries not only as a response to the stereotypes of its early Victorian context, but also as a wider metaphor for human nature and emotion. Heathcliff and Cathy's relationship is the central to the novel because of the implications it has for the characters’ contemporaries, the next generation, and the narrative as a whole. Arguably, it is the almost supernatural nature of this core relationship that taints the rest of the novel, in both narrative and theme, with anguish, and denies all the characters a ‘normal’ life. Heathcliff and Cathy redefine the reader’s perception of love, demonstrating a passion that transcends status and defies God. The devouring intensity of this passion leads both characters to abandon morality and compassion, and inflict agony on those around them. Bronte’s Heathcliff epitomizes otherness; the essence of his character is the violation of social...

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