"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Best Romantic Hero - Heathcliff

Of all the romantic novels out there in the world, I'd say "Wuthering Heights" is by far the best. Yes, it is a gothic novel and deals mainly with jealousy, revenge, greed but the reason is Heathcliff's love for Catherine. They are true soulmates. Heathcliff's intense love for Catherine lasts three generations across which the story spans.

An outline of the story:
Heathcliff is an orphan brought home by Mr. Earnshaw to Wuthering heights. Hindley, Mr.Earnshaw's son is jealous of his father's affection for Heathcliff from childhood and treats him a servant after Mr. Earnshaw's death. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff are thick as thieves from childhood. She marries Edgar Linton as Heathcliff is reduced to a mere servant without manners or intelligence by her brother. Due to a misunderstanding, Heathcliff leaves town and returns after six months, rich and intelligent with an outward appearance of a gentleman. Events happen and Catherine dies heartbroken. The rest of the novel is about Heathcliff's revenge on Hindley and Linton and their next generation for separating him from Catherine and ends with Hindley's son and Catherine's daughter getting married.

The best lines from the novel say it all:

"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."

"Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."

What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself.

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."

"That is how I'm loved! Well, never mind. That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he's in my soul."My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

'You teach me now how cruel you've been—cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you—they'll damn you. You loved me—then what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—youhave broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?'

"'And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!'"

A moonbeam is beautiful, but it never has the same intensity, the savage hotness of a lightning. Their love was an intense, passionate lightning that burns the soul, bringing to the surface, the deepest emotions, the feelings which you never knew you possessed or even imagined you might possess. It was not a gentle stream but a stormy ocean.

The gentle, passionate Mr. Darcys, Mr.Knightleys, "Daring in love and Dauntless in war" Lochinvars are all dream come true, but given a choice I will happily choose myself a Heathcliff anyday.


  1. wish someone would write such excerpts for all the classics... how easy to read!!

  2. I'll try to do my best dear!


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