Catherine Earnshaw as a dominating presence in Wuthering Heights



In the novel Wuthering Heights there was one character who had a dominating influence
on the way the novel went. Her name was Catherine Earnshaw and even after she died she still
left a lasting impression on the people around her and after she was gone people still made some
decisions based on her. While she was alive she had Heathcliff and Edgar rapped around her
finger; she could have made them do anything she wanted and sometimes she did. While
Catherine was dying Heathcliff spent the most time with her and she knew that at that point he
would do anything for her and she used that against him. There are many examples of Cathy’s
dominance in the novel and they will all be discussed in detail.
The major instance of Catherine’s dominance is one that continues through the entire
novel and that is her influence over Heathcliff. Catherine acquires this grasp over Heathcliff by
telling him that he is not good enough for her and that he is also not civilized enough for her to
marry him. To make Heathcliff even more desperate Catherine decides she will get married to
Edgar instead of Heathcliff; “she is naïve enough to think that by doing so she will be able to lift
Heathcliff from the degradation into which he has been thrust by Hindley”. When in fact this
makes Heathcliff very jealous and he goes away to make him self more refined for Catherine.
When Heathcliff returns to find Catherine has married Edgar it sends him over the edge he gets
furious and revenge is on his mind. He thinks that if he marries Isabella that it would bring
Catherine back into his arms. Of course this does not work it only succeeds in making Edgar
furious. Edgar disowns Isabella and tells Catherine she is not allowed to see Heathcliff, this
enrages Catherine and she locks herself in her room with no food or water. She hopes that this
would change Edgar’s mind as well as give her the sympathy that she craved. Her plan did not
work and she became very ill; Heathcliff snuck in to see Catherine a number of times because he
was the one who felt sorry for her and was willing to risk his life to be with her which was just
what Catherine had in mind. “After Catherine died Heathcliff commands her to haunt him
saying, “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”“ Catherine had such a
dominating impact on Heathcliff that he could not let her die he wanted her soul to be with him
always.
An example of Catherine’s dominating presence even after her death made Heathcliff
come up with a plan to take control of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
Catherine’s death forced Heathcliff into a rage where he came up with a plan to get back at
Edgar for marrying Catherine and not taking better care of her. One of the things he decided to
do was take control of Wuthering Heights from her brother Hindley. He accomplished this by
getting Hindley drunk and having him a game of cards in which Heathcliff won the deed to
Wuthering Heights. Next Heathcliff would get Thrushcross Grange taking his revenge on Edgar,
he accomplished this by getting young Cathy Linton to marry his son Linton Heathcliff. Then
once Linton died Heathcliff was in control of both Wuthering heights and Thrushcross Grange.
Once Heathcliff had his plan completed he settled down in Wuthering Heights but
Catherine’s presence never did settle down. Heathcliff often went into Catherine’s old room and
sat on the bed calling Catherine’s name hoping she would answer. Catherine’s impact on
Heathcliff changed Heathcliff so that he never concerned himself with anything else but his
wanting to be with Catherine. Her presence on him was so great that he would do anything so he
could be with her even after death. An example of this is when he invaded her grave and paid
the gravedigger to break the one side off her casket and turn her body facing in that direction.
Heathcliff then paid the gravedigger to bury Heathcliff on that side of Catherine and break away
the side of his casket and face him towards Catherine’s casket. He did this because Heathcliff
thought that if he did this that he and Catherine would be together forever because she had so
much influence on Heathcliff and he loved her