Wuthering Heights

Marxist Criticism and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte College

Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, is not simply the tragic love story it may appear to be on the surface, but is an example of class differences and the role of capital in eighteenth century Victorian England. Using Karl Marx’s essay Wage Labor and Capital, one can see the ways in which Wuthering Heights uses the rise and fall of Heathcliff as a reminder that one cannot change his socioeconomic status in this society, and that no matter how hard one tries to climb the socioeconomic ladder, he will only be left with misery in modern, capitalist society. 

In Wage Labor and Capital, Marx writes about the processes through which wealth accumulates. He argues that in a capitalist economy, the wage laborer is trapped within a system that does not reward him for his work. Marx argues that the class structure of society is based on the capitalist system, and that one cannot change his or her position in society. When discussing the relationship between the capitalist and the wage laborer, Marx writes, “The capitalist, it seems, therefore, buys their labor with money. They sell him their labor for money. However, this is merely an appearance, because in reality, they...

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