I’ve never understood why Heathcliff is seen as a romantic hero. He seems to me to be a prime example of a man consumed by hate and anger who uses love as an excuse for revenge. I wonder, if Cathy has lived, how long it would have been before she was wearing bruises from his fists?
Yes he has a bad childhood and was ill-treated by his foster family. Yes, he was obsessed with Cathy (although he seemed mainly obsessed with Cathy as his – his soul, his love and when she died he was mostly concerned with what her death had done to him) but he spent most of his life (and the book) lovingly nurturing his anger and his hatred and taking long, slow, heartless revenge for the slights that lived so vividly in his memory.
He often says that he can’t live without Cathy. yet he persists in doing so. I think it would have been better for everyone if, instead of inviting Cathy to haunt him, he had thrown himself into the coffin he insisted the grave digger open for him and then had himself buried alive.
So no, I’m not a fan of this ‘fierce, pitiless, wolfish man’ BUT maybe if Cathy had had access to modern self-help books and could have persuaded Heathcliff to read them, things would have worked out differently.
Here are the three I think she might have chosen. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a Heathcliff in your life and a Restraining Order isn’t your first choice for dealing with him, try getting him to read these: