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Wuthering Heights

  • Date Submitted: 02/23/2012 03:48 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 33.8 
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PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF WUTHERING HEIGHTS A Freudian interpretation
A Jungian interpretation
Monomania: a nineteenth century interpretation |

Psychological analyses of Wuthering Heights abound as critics apply modern psychological theories to the characters and their relationships, A FREUDIAN INTERPRETATIONThe most common psychological readings are Freudian interpretations. Typical of Freudian readings of the novel is Linda Gold's interpretation. She sees in the symbiosis of Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar the relationship of Freud's id, ego, and superego. At a psychological level, they merge into one personality with Heathcliff's image of the three of them buried (the unconscious) in what is essentially one coffin. Heathcliff, the id, expresses the most primitive drives (like sex), seeks pleasure, and avoids pain; the id is not affected by time and remains in the unconscious (appropriately, Heathcliff's origins are unknown, he is dark, he runs wild and is primitive as a child, and his three year absence remains a mystery). Catherine, the ego, relates to other people and society, tests the impulses of the id against reality, and controls the energetic id until there is a reasonable chance of its urges being fulfilled. Edgar, the superego, represents the rules of proper behavior and morality inculcated by teachers, family, and society; he is civilized and cultured. As conscience, he compels Catherine to choose between Heathcliff and himself. In Freud's analysis, the ego must be male to deal successfully with the world; to survive, a female ego would have to live through males. This Catherine does by identifying egotistically with Heathcliff and Edgar, according to Gold. Catherine rejects Heathcliff because a realistic assessment of her future with him makes clear the material and social advantages of marrying Edgar and the degradation of yielding to her unconscious self. Her stay at Thrushcross Grange occurs at a crucial stage in her development; she...

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