It is difficult to know what is right in all cases. - M.B., I.210.29

Wuthering Heights: Romance, Revenge & Necrophilia

That Wuthering Heights is a romantic novel is an idea much argued. The argument arises because of its being an out of ordinary & unconventional love story. But love it has… mad, passionate, extraordinary love… and in abundance! Wuthering Heights is set in moorlands, as if any less space would be unable to contain the amount of love the story possess. For true love is found sometimes, somewhere above general social rules and conventions. True love transgresses traditional taboos and social institutions because it transcends them. Wuthering Heights witnesses the coalescing of Catherine & Heathcliff’s souls into a single interwoven continuum in which no part or portion of the original remains distinct or distinguishable.

Cathy says: Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same... Nelly, I am Heathcliff!

Imperfect social rules & conventions crush and destroy lovers’ hopes & aspirations leaving their souls howl in agony forever since. For such lovers, reality is thrown back into the unreal, and the unreal becomes the new world. They glide through the world as if ghosts, touching nothing, feeling nothing. They learn to be not afraid of God, to scorn upon social morality, and to serve revenge ice cold.

Nelly remarks: He (Heathcliff) complained so seldom, indeed, of such stirs as these, that I really thought him not vindictive: I was deceived completely…

He leant his two elbows on his knees, and his chin on his hands and remained rapt in dumb meditation.  On my inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely—‘I’m trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back.  I don’t care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last.  I hope he will not die before I do!’

‘For shame, Heathcliff!’ said I.  ‘It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.’

‘No, God won’t have the satisfaction that I shall,’ he returned.

It is natural for a boy and girl to grow on each other when brought together.1 The love such developed is the desire matured and harmonized. They know each other in & out, mind & soul.2 Then, it is no matter as to what the other person was, is or becomes later on… they love each other always & forever.3

1. The curate might set as many chapters as he pleased for Catherine to get by heart, and Joseph might thrash Heathcliff till his arm ached; they forgot everything the minute they were together again: at least the minute they had contrived some naughty plan of revenge; and many a time I’ve cried to myself to watch them growing more reckless daily, and I not daring to speak a syllable, for fear of losing the small power I still retained over the unfriended creatures.

2. Cathy says: ‘Nelly, help me to convince her (Isabella) of her madness.  Tell her what Heathcliff is: an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation; an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone.  I’d as soon put that little canary into the park on a winter’s day, as recommend you to bestow your heart on him!  It is deplorable ignorance of his character, child, and nothing else, which makes that dream enter your head.  Pray, don’t imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior!  He’s not a rough diamond—a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man.  I never say to him, “Let this or that enemy alone, because it would be ungenerous or cruel to harm them;” I say, “Let them alone, because I should hate them to be wronged:” and he’d crush you like a sparrow’s egg, Isabella, if he found you a troublesome charge.  I know he couldn’t love a Linton; and yet he’d be quite capable of marrying your fortune and expectations: avarice is growing with him a besetting sin.  There’s my picture: and I’m his friend—so much so, that had he thought seriously to catch you, I should, perhaps, have held my tongue, and let you fall into his trap.’

3. Cathy says: Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing before I could consent to forsake Heathcliff.  Oh, that’s not what I intend—that’s not what I mean!  I shouldn’t be Mrs. Linton were such a price demanded!  He’ll be as much to me as he has been all his lifetime.
What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here?  My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself.  If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees.  My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.  Nelly, I am Heathcliff!  He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.  So don’t talk of our separation again: it is impracticable...

Heathcliff says to Nelly: Two words would comprehend my future—death and hell: existence, after losing her, would be hell.

Heathcliff says to Cathy: Catherine, you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!

Their love is true to each other and so are their words…

Between Heathcliff & terminally ill Cathy:

Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy?  I have not one word of comfort.  You deserve this.  You have killed yourself.  Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they’ll blight you—they’ll damn you. You loved me—then what right had you to leave me?  What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton?  Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it.  I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.  So much the worse for me that I am strong.  Do I want to live?  What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?

‘Let me alone.  Let me alone,’ sobbed Catherine.  ‘If I’ve done wrong, I’m dying for it.  It is enough!  You left me too: but I won’t upbraid you!  I forgive you.  Forgive me!

‘It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands,’ he answered.  ‘Kiss me again; and don’t let me see your eyes!  I forgive what you have done to me.  I love my murderer—but yours!  How can I?

When Cathy dies, Heathcliff gets agitated beyond measure.

‘May she wake in torment!’ he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion.  ‘Why, she’s a liar to the end!  Where is she?  Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where?  Oh! You said you cared nothing for my sufferings!  And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe.  I know that ghosts have wandered on earth.  Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!  Oh, God! It is unutterable!  I cannot live without my life!  I cannot live without my soul!

After Catherine’s death, Heathcliff goes as far as to try to dig her out of her grave to hold her once again. Wuthering Heights, the movie (2011) goes a step ahead, in order to accommodate the evolution of passion in the hundred years between the book and the movie, and shows Heathcliff having intercourse with Catherine’s dead body. When a man and a woman are brought together in a deep union of souls by unswerving fidelity of spirit, which is above all other kinds of fidelity, then everything they can do to one another is holy. Anyone who speaks a word against the holiness of such love has not a right mind.

Heathcliff says to Nelly: The day she was buried, there came a fall of snow.  In the evening I went to the churchyard.  It blew bleak as winter—all round was solitary.  I didn’t fear that her fool of a husband would wander up the glen so late; and no one else had business to bring them there.  Being alone, and conscious two yards of loose earth was the sole barrier between us, I said to myself—“I’ll have her in my arms again!  If she be cold, I’ll think it is this north wind that chills me; and if she be motionless, it is sleep.”  I got a spade from the tool-house, and began to delve with all my might—it scraped the coffin…

Chamber containing Cenotaphs (Empty Tombs) of Shahjahan & Mumtaz
in Taj Mahal. The true graves lies in a secluded chamber underground
 just beneath this chamber.
When Cathy’s husband Edgar dies, Heathcliff uses the opportunity to make his final bed beside Cathy. Such longing to be with one's love, in life and after death, is not unheard of, and is universal to extraordinary lovers. Shahjahan was so heartbroken at the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal that he must had spoken of his wish to be buried next to her upon his death. Thus, upon Shahjahan's death, his body was taken by river in a sandalwood coffin to the Taj Mahal and was interred there next to the body of his beloved wife.

He bid me be silent; and then, for the first time, allowed himself a glance round the room and a look at the pictures. Having studied Mrs. Linton’s, he said—‘I shall have that home.  Not because I need it, but—’ He turned abruptly to the fire, and continued, with what, for lack of a better word, I must call a smile—‘I’ll tell you what I did yesterday!  I got the sexton, who was digging Linton’s grave, to remove the earth off her coffin lid, and I opened it.  I thought, once, I would have stayed there: when I saw her face again—it is hers yet!—he had hard work to stir me; but he said it would change if the air blew on it, and so I struck one side of the coffin loose, and covered it up: not Linton’s side, damn him!  I wish he’d been soldered in lead.  And I bribed the sexton to pull it away when I’m laid there, and slide mine out too; I’ll have it made so: and then by the time Linton gets to us he’ll not know which is which!’

‘You were very wicked, Mr. Heathcliff!’ I exclaimed; ‘Were you not ashamed to disturb the dead?’

‘I disturbed nobody, Nelly,’ he replied; ‘and I gave some ease to myself.  I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; and you’ll have a better chance of keeping me underground, when I get there.  Disturbed her?  No! she has disturbed me, night and day, through eighteen years—incessantly—remorselessly—till yesternight; and yesternight I was tranquil.  I dreamt I was sleeping the last sleep by that sleeper, with my heart stopped and my cheek frozen against hers.

‘And if she had been dissolved into earth, or worse, what would you have dreamt of then?’ I said.

Of dissolving with her, and being more happy still!’ he answered.

"Bury me beside you,
I have no hope in solitude.
And the world will follow
to the earth down below..."

- Lyric from the Official Sound Track for Wuthering Heights, 2011 , The Enemy by Mumford & Sons.

Nelly remarks: We buried him, to the scandal of the whole neighbourhood, as he wished.  And I hope its tenant sleeps as soundly. But the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks...

I was going to the Grange one evening—a dark evening, threatening thunder—and, just at the turn of the Heights, I encountered a little boy with a sheep and two lambs before him; he was crying terribly; and I supposed the lambs were skittish, and would not be guided.

‘What is the matter, my little man?’ I asked.

There’s Heathcliff and a woman yonder, under t’ nab,’ he blubbered, ‘un’ I darnut pass ’em.’

Necrophilia remains about sexual craving for a dead body without any emotional attachment to the owner of that body. What Heathcliff is shown doing with Catherine in the movie is anything but necrophilia; it is mad, passionate & extraordinary love.

“Anything less than mad, passionate, extraordinary love is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life to deal with and love shouldn't be one of them.” ― Tiffanie DeBartolo


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