A theme is defined as the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The novel Wuthering Heights includes many themes. However, as I read this novel, the most prominent theme was the different kinds of love between the characters. Clearly the most outstanding love was that between Catherine and Heathcliff.
Throughout this novel, the love that Catherine and Heathcliff had for one another was obvious, even after the death of Catherine. Their love began in childhood and continued strongly throughout their lives. At times, it even seemed like an obsession. However, Catherine decided to marry Edgar Linton because she knew she could never marry Heathcliff. As she states:.
"I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him" (Bronte 73). .
Yet, even with the marriage of Catherine and Edgar, Heathcliff and Catherine know that they will never lose the passion and loyalty that they have for one another.
The love between Catherine and Edgar is much different than that between her and Heathcliff. As Catherine confides in Nelly, she tells her that she loves Linton because he is handsome, rich, and graceful. She also comments that he would make her the greatest lady of the neighborhood. Catherine has a desire for a socially prominent lifestyle, and this is one of the reasons why she has chosen Edgar. Their love is not real and true like that of Catherine and Heathcliff, but it is more like the love of the material things and social status. .
Another example of love between two of the characters is that between Isabella and Heathcliff. Again, this love is not real because of the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Catherine offers to convince Edgar to permit their marriage if Heathcliff truly loves her, but Heathcliff rejects this idea.