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“in the World of Wuthering Heights, Death Is Seen as a Welcome Release from the Tortures of Living.” How Far Do You Agree with the View of the Novel?

  • Date Submitted: 11/24/2014 04:24 AM
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“In the world of Wuthering Heights, death is seen as a welcome release from the tortures of living.” How far do you agree with the view of the novel?
In the time when Wuthering Heights was written, suicide was considered a cardinal sin. However, in the novel, death is seen as a welcome release from the tortures of life, with both Heathcliff and Catherine essentially committing suicide. Emily Bronte, who herself refused the help of medicine and doctors in her death, has a sympathetic view of death, and particularly in that era, refusing food was seen as one of the few powers women could use against men. This is one argument of why Catherine refuses food; for she is trapped in a society of which she is not naturally part of, whilst being kept away from her beloved Heathcliff and the moors on which she roamed a child and is later buried. Heathcliff is portrayed in the novel as a romantic anti-hero, with demonic tendencies that outline his cruelty, however, upon hearing of Catherine’s death, he pins himself to a tree, completely overcome with passionate grief. Critics argue that this can be seen to represent a crucifix, which undermines the demonic nature of Heathcliff. Whilst there is some evidence to suggest that death is not a welcome release, I agree with the assessment of the novel.
Whilst seen as a welcome release to a torturous life, death in the form of suicide can be seen to commit the soul to hell, hence the punishment awaiting is arguably worse. Heathcliff views his death as escaping the shackles of a life filled with suffering into heaven, albeit if Heaven is really where Catherine and Heathcliff are destined, after both of them commit a sin through suicide, whilst not leading heavenly lives, with Heathcliff so distraught following Cathy’s death that he “ceased to attend church”, hence demonstrating his lack of commitment to the church, which on those times would’ve secured him a place in hell. The view that death is a welcome release does not resonate...

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