”A perfect misanthropist’s Heaven – and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so surprisingly under his brows as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat as I announced my name.”
This is the first ever impression we get of Heathcliff – of his jealousy, as the narrator in a KINDLY sarcastic way discloses it to us so early in our acquaintance with him. Of his torment – HIS MAD TORMENT. Maybe a first time reader won’t be able to distinguish bad temper from anguish but as someone who has known Heathcliff deep inside her skin, who has felt what he feels and cried when he wanted to – I know. I JUST KNOW.
It’s amazing how – if a character is heartbroken enough – we can almost instantly relate to him. Even the happiest of disposition and the warmest of temper can’t help but feel the terror that shakes his broken heart. They can relate because they don’t want to suffer the same agony themselves. Even those who haven’t felt the maddening passion Heathcliff suffered can’t help but pity him. And what’s even more – we delight as he suffers. It reassures us. Gives us a sense of security – HE SUFFERS AND WE DON’T.
What can explain human nature better than this revelation?
Heathcliff is INSANITY. He is VENGEANCE. He is JEALOUSY. He is ANGER. But above all, he is PASSION. He is LOVE.
Now, this maybe a little difficult for MANY to agree with, but this is just how it is. Just close your eyes and open you hearts and YOU WILL FEEL HIS PLIGHT. You won’t be able to feel anything BUT REMORSE for this sad hero. When one loves with a heart as deep as his, one cannot help but go mad. When one feels everything as keenly as he did, one cannot help but feel revengeful towards anyone who threatens their raking soul.
People say Cathy and Heathcliff’s love for each other is unnatural. I believe that it is THE MOST NATURAL thing in the whole world. You just have to adjust yourself to the intensity with which their souls burn and yearn for each other and you will feel it too. And then tell me if it is not the purest kind of love?
You NEED to know who HEATHCLIFF is before you can even BEGIN to try to understand WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Heathcliff and Cathy are one. They belong to each other more than the moon belongs to the dark and the stars to the moon. And so, they repel and attract each other with a vengeful passion.
And now that you know him, you can begin to form an idea of the madness, delightfully haunting madness that is WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Now I can safely begin to discuss the story with you in my next posts.
Until next time, then.