Final scene represents the tragic end of the most trivial love affair in the book. Yet it proceeds to represent much more for Heathcliff. For Heathcliff Catherine’s death directly correlates to his loss of joy, passion, and stability. Bronte noticeably reveals that Heathcliff’s murder is Catherine and vise versa. This is evident when Heathcliff states “I love my murderer” with contrast with “but yours! How can I?”. Heathcliff can forgive his murderer because it is Catherine, the one person with whom Heathcliff shares joyous memories, who provided motivation for him to become a gentleman and better himself, and who served as a constant goal for Heathcliff to reach, his dream for them to be together.
This is why it is so hard that Catherine’s murder, turns out to be himself. Their separation killed Catherine. Bronte uses this tragic love scene to convey her purpose: true love is so consuming it can kill you, not just physically, but psychologically as well. Heathcliff can never forgive what he has done to Catherine, his broken heart changes him emotionally and mentally throughout the novel.
Bronte reveals the twisted reasoning of Heathcliff’s desire for his son as a front for Heathcliff’s true motive, to gain control of Thrushcross Grange. This ability for Heathcliff to unemotionally use his son as pawn serves as a symbol of heathcliff’s desperation for revenge. Bronte includes Heathcliff’s heartless comment “I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor” as a way to keep reminding the reader of Heathcliff’s journey as a lower class citizen. Heathcliff has no emotion towards using his son, who is the key to one element heathcliff has never been able to reach, power in society.
This element is so important to Heathcliff because Catherine had decided social ranking over their true love. Heathcliff will never forgive himself for not being what she wanted even after death. If that means using his son to achieve that goal, it is nothing to him. This ties into Bronte’s purpose: For the desperate, family is collateral in the search for power. Heathcliff has no problem using Linton as a pawn if that means accelerating his plan for complete control over the people in his life.
Bronte noticeably touches on the protective nature of the adults at Thrushcross Grange, reflecting the separation between classes and especially the cultivation of young women and their status in that time period. The ultimate goal in this quote and the situation created by Edgar and Nelly is to keep young Catherine away from the wild, uneducated, gritty world that Wuthering Heights represents and contain her in the calm, polite, and superior environment of Thrushcross grange. Bronte even includes that “Wuthering Heights and Mr. Heathcliff did not exist for her”, she knows nothing of her family, during that time period it was thought that women were mentally and emotionally weaker than men.
That young Cathy wouldn’t be able to help herself if she knew of them, that if she did she would automatically mold to their savage ideals just because she didn’t know better. Young women like cathy had to be kept safe. There is also an underlying repetition of older Catherine’s brief transition into a lady herself. Being kept at the Lintons, she learned manners and became a lady of society just as young Cathy is now. Cathys lense of being a young woman, as a “a perfect recluse”, provides an innocence and curiosity of the unknown that is accompanied by a close minded outlook of what is socially expected of her.
Bronte uses this quote to reveal the repetition experienced by the two generations. Older Catherine judged Heathcliff on his education just as young cathy is now and Linton is ridiculing Hareton just as Hindley did to Heatcliff years before him.This scene reveals interesting characteristics of Cathy. Cathy is not as sweet and perfect as she is set out to be, she insults Hareton by exposing “each time he looked so stupid, I think he does not understand me”, and takes some amusement in his failure to read. We also see her ignorance of society.
Cathy genuinely wonders if he truly is uneducated, she is not aware of others circumstances, due to her sheltered life. Bronte strategically includes this quote to reveal the ignorant outlook on society sheltered upclass citizens attain. We should not blame Cathy for her lack of knowledge about Hindley’s lack of education. Yet at the same time opportunities are presented to those less fortunate by the upper class.