Wuthering Heights is structured around dualities. What are these dualities and what major themes do they support?
Dualities form the foundation and structure for the major themes within the novel Wuthering Heights. By using contrasts, the author, Emily BrontÃ«, builds tension and describes the characters of the novel and the nature of their loves. Love, and the concept of nature versus culture (two physical extremes) are major themes within the novel.
The dualities that unfold the theme of love do so by the use of comparison between the different couples. The use of extremes serves to highlight the suffering and agony that love can cause.
The theme of love carries with it the message that love prevails through all, even to death. This is shown by the duality of Edgar Linton and Heathcliff in their love for Catherine Earnshaw. Edgar Linton visits Catherineâ€™s grave every year until he dies, whilst Heathcliff eventually starves himself to death so that he can be with Catherine. Both men love Catherine even past her death, although in very different ways.
The power love can exert over a personâ€™s choices is explored through the duality of Edgar Linton and Heathcliff after Catherineâ€™s death. Heathcliff wishes to revenge himself on Edgar for marrying Catherine. Isabella realises this, in the statement, â€œWhatever he may pretend, he wishes to provoke Edgar to desperation â€“ he says he has married me â€¦ to obtain power over him.â€ Edgar would like to make peace with Heathcliff because of Catherineâ€™s love for Heathcliff. Catherine has affected both of them in entirely different ways.
The contrast between Heathcliff and Edgarâ€™s love for Cathy expresses how love can be on many different levels. The love between Heathcliff and Cathy is better described as a need. They are incomplete as separate individuals, but united they are one being. Catherine declares â€