In the novel “Wuthering Heights,” Edgar Linton and Heathcliff are the two main male characters. They’re complete opposites, but both of them are in love with the same person – Catherine Earnshaw. We’re sure that their story from the perspective of this essay will be interesting to you. However, if you want to get a sample on any other topic, place your order. Our writers will provide you with a well-structured and original sample.
Compare and Contrast Edgar Linton and Heathcliff in the Novel Wuthering Heights
The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is regarded as a classic of English literature. The
story’s plot is based on the contrasts between the main characters who act according to their own moral codes and principles. The two main male characters are Edgar Linton and Heathcliff. Both of them have similarities in their love for Cathrine Earnshaw, but they are distinctively different people. Their dissimilarities are obvious and prominent, while both of them yearn for Cathy’s love and devotion.
In the novel, Edgar Linton is a foil, a character who is a complete opposite to the main character and serves to highlight the particular protagonist’s traits. He is a drastic contrast to Heathcliff both physically and spiritually. Edgar and Heathcliff are different from all the perspectives: appearance, social status, education, behavior, etc. Heathcliff is described as “a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman” (Brontë 6). In his turn, Edgar has “light hair and a fair skin” (Brontë 71).
When it comes to social status, the gap between these two characters is also apparent. Edgar is the heir of a respectable family residing in Thrushcross Grange. His home is a symbol of civilization and culture and suits his character and manners. Heathcliff has a much lower social status. He is orphaned and taken to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw. His social standing is underlined by the fact that his surname is, at the same time, his given name.
Whereas Heathcliff embodied the will and strength of a survivor in difficult circumstances, Edgar, on the other hand, had been brought up in a refined and polished environment. Richard Wasowski states that “Edgar represents the typical Victorian hero, possessing qualities of constancy and tenderness” (72). His manners and social status are the reasons why Catherine Earnshaw prefers marriage with him than to her soulmate, Heathcliff. When Edgar proposes to Cathy, she accepts, although her love for him is weaker than her connection with her sworn brother.
In contrast to Edgar, Heathcliff is more of the Byronic hero. Wasowski characterizes him as an “abusive, brutal, and cruel” hero (10) who appears as an inhuman monster. When Mr. Lockwood asks Mrs. Dean to describe Heathchliff’s character, she says that it is “rough as a saw-edge, and hard as whinstone” (Brontë 43). Despite his love for Cathy, he never seems to forgive her for her choice, and “in a sense, he ends up murdering his love” (Wasowski 78).
Even though both Edgar and Heathcliff love Cathy, they show and interpret their feelings in different ways. Edgar’s love is gentle and reserved. Despite their feelings, Wasowski states that a “non-emotional intellectual is not the type of person who can make Catherine happy in the long run” (72). Edgar understands and cherishes his wife, but his efforts are not enough to sustain a relationship. In contrast to Linton, Heathcliff seems to be obsessed with Cathy and then, after her death, with a delusional image of her. Graeme Tytler considers Heathcliff to be “monomaniac” in his article “Heathcliff’s Monomania” (332). Love and revenge are two feelings that define his behavior and actions. He is a “man of stormy emotions” (Wasowski 72) who is capable of hatred and passion. Heathcliff despises Edgar and his feelings for Cathy. He states: “If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as I could in a day” (Brontë 190).
Edgar and Heathcliff have almost nothing in common. Linton portrays everything that Heathcliff does not: noble origin, education, constancy, empathy, and tenderness. Heathcliff is, in his turn, passionate, obsessed, and rough. Their dissimilarities appear in every aspect of their lives, even in the only thing they have in common: their love for Catherine Earnshaw.
Brontë Emily. Wuthering Heights. Planet Ebook, www.planetebook.com/wuthering-heights/. Accessed 8, Jan. 2019.
Tytler, Graeme. “Heathcliff’s Monomania: An Anachronism in Wuthering Heights.” Brontë Studies, vol. 20, no. 6, 1992, pp. 331–343., www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/030977692796439621?journalCode=ybst19.
Wasowski, Richard. CliffsNotes on Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2001.