Wuthering Heights Quotes

"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am." (Catherine, Chapter 9, p. 99)

Catherine Earnshaw is explaining to Mrs. Dean, Nelly, why she can never marry Heathcliff. She would love to marry him, but because her brother, Hindley, has given Heathcliff the status of servant, she cannot. Heathcliff only hears her say, "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now," and does not hear her professes her love for him. He, at these words, leaves Wuthering Heights and does not return for three years. Catherine feels that Heathcliff and she are soul mates; people who are destined to be a part of each other's lives. Instead she marries Edgar Linton, because he has social position and money. She hopes she can uses both of these attributes to help Heathcliff become a successful man.

Little does she know her actions will taint Heathcliff's entire life and ruin her life. She does not know of Heathcliff's plot for revenge against Edgar, because he married Catherine and not Heathcliff.

"Whatever he may pretend, he wishes to provoke Edgar to desperation; he says he has married me on purpose to obtain power over him; and he shan't obtain it-I'll die first!" (Isabella Heathcliff, Chapter 14, p.172)

Isabella is explaining to Mrs. Dean the real reason Heathcliff married her. The eighteen year-old girl thought she was marrying the man of her dreams, only to find she had entered into a nightmare of a marriage. Heathcliff didn't love her, in fact, he despised her. He only wanted to cause heartache and pain for Edgar Linton, Isabella's brother. She is defiant and pledges she will die before she gives Heathcliff the pleasure of power over her brother, unfortunately that is exactly what happens. She dies thirteen years after having Heathcliff's son, Linton. She gave guardianship of the boy to her brother, but Heathcliff claims his son. He uses the boy to gain control over Edgar's land by having Linton marry Edgar's daughter.

"About twelve o'clock, that night, was born the Catherine you saw at Wuthering Heights: a puny, seven months' child; and two hours after the mother died, having never recovered sufficient consciousness to miss Heathcliff, or know Edgar." (Mrs. Dean, Chapter 16, p. 184)

Mrs. Dean is explaining to Mr. Lockwood the fate of Catherine Linton. She died on the same day she and Heathcliff had a tumultuous reunion. She blamed Heathcliff and Edgar for her weakened health, because they had both broken her heart. After their argument was over, they held each other and professed their love for each other. She would not let him leave even as her husband returned home. She was unconscious by the time Edgar found her in Heathcliff's arms. He returned her to her husband, but he would not leave the property till the next morning, after he found out she was dead.

"The guest was now the master of Wuthering Heights: he held firm possession, and proved to the attorney-who, in his turn, proved it to Mr. Linton-that Earnshaw had mortgaged every yard of land he owned, for cash to supply his mania for gaming; and he, Heathcliff, was the mortgagee." (Mrs. Dean, Chapter 17, p. 207)

Mrs. Dean explains how Heathcliff gained control of Hareton's inheritance. Hareton upon his father, Hindley's, death should have inherited Wuthering Heights and all its lands. Instead, Heathcliff received it all because he held the mortgage to it. He used Hindley's weakness, after the death of his wife, to gain control of Wuthering Heights. He eventually used his wiles to gain control of Thrushcross Grange also, by having his son will him all his and his wife's lands. Because his son had married Edgar Linton's daughter, he succeeded in gaining some revenge against Edgar for marrying Catherine Earnshaw.

"My design is as honest as possible. I'll inform you of its whole scope," he said. "That the two cousins may fall in love, and get married." (Heathcliff, Chapter 21, p. 234)

Heathcliff is explaining to Mrs. Dean his grand plan to have Catherine Linton and Linton Heathcliff marry. Catherine is the daughter of his true love, Catherine Earnshaw and her husband Edgar Linton. Linton is Heathcliff's son with his wife, Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister. By having the two marry he has the chance to have control over Edgar's house and land after he dies.

"Papa wants us to be married," he continued, after sipping some liquid. "And he knows your papa wouldn't let us marry now; and he's afraid of my dying, if we wait; so we are to be married in the morning, and you are to stay here all night; and, if you do as he wishes, you shall return home next day, and take me with you." (Linton, Chapter 27, p. 291)

Linton is explaining to Catherine Linton and Mrs. Dean why they have been taken prisoner at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is afraid his plan to become the master over Edgar's possessions will be thwarted if Linton dies. The young man is very ill and does die shortly after his marriage to Catherine.

The promise of returning Catherine to her dying father the next day is a false promise. He is determined to cause further misery for Catherine and Edgar by keeping them apart. Heathcliff does not let Mrs. Dean have her freedom for four days. Catherine, with Linton's help, escapes in time to see her father before he dies.

"In every cloud, in every tree-filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object, by day I am surrounded with her image!" (Heathcliff, Chapter 33, p. 342)

Heathcliff is explaining to Mrs. Dean how everything reminds him of his beloved Catherine. He is lost without her in his world. He cannot stand to look at the most ordinary of objects, because they remind him of her. He especially cannot bear to look at Hareton, Catherine's nephew, due to his resemblance to his aunt. He does not know how much more he can stand of being in a world that causes him so much pain. But he does tell Mrs. Dean he does not wish to die. He is a tormented man living with the memory of his lost love.

"The lattice, flapping to and fro, had grazed one hand that rested on the sill; no blood trickled from the broken skin, and when I put my fingers to it, I could doubt no more: he was dead and stark!" (Mrs. Dean, Chapter 34, p. 353)

Mrs. Dean is recounting to Mr. Lockwood how she found Heathcliff dead in his bed. She thought he was outside wandering on the moor in the rain, but instead she found his stiff dead body lying in his bed. Heathcliff had been acting strangely for some time, which baffled the other members of the household. He would appear happy one moment and then the next he would be angry at all of them for no apparent reason.

His death brought about some changes in the household. Catherine and Hareton were once again in possession of what was rightfully theirs and the two of them had become engaged to be married. The household, except for Joseph, seemed happier and more relaxed than ever.

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