Gothic Elements in Wuthering Heights

Gothic refers to a dark or inhuman form of expression that came into existence in France between the twelfth and the sixteenth century and was used in their designs, architecture, and even music. Gothic elements are indicated in the Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte from chapters 1-17, and one of the elements is Heathcliff’s unfriendliness to Mr. Lockwood who is his new tenant as well as the false accusation about Lockwood trying to steal something after threatening to attack him.

The scornful and inhospitable Heathcliff’s daughter-in-law also depicts gothic components since she refuses to make Lockwood some tea until requested to do the same. The way Heathcliff demands tea is also gothic and brings out his rude character. Lockwood is then accused of stealing a lantern and dogs are set on him (Brontë45). The way Heathcliff, as a child, blackmailed Hindley into giving him his colt after he (Hindley) threw a heavy metal at him, an incident that Heathcliff provoked, also depicts Gothic elements. Hindley’s comeback after his father’s death and treating Heathcliff like any other farm boy whereas his father treated him like his son is a gothic element including the fact that he forbade Heathcliff from ever speaking to Catherine.

Moreover, the manner in which Heathcliff is thrown out of the Christmas party for not being “up to standard” and Edgar mocking him is a manifested gothic element including Cathy not coming to his aid when heneeded her. Another act of gothic is depicted when Cathy slaps and pinches both Ellen and Edgar because she was angered by Ellen’s presence when Edgar came to visit her forcing her to show her real character to Edgar (Brontë 91).

These Gothic elements, however, worked to express love and desire in the text as shown in the way Cathy pretends to love Edgar when she loved Heathcliff and was willing to marry Edgar to use the influence she would gather from marrying Edgar who was going to be rich soon to raise Heathcliff. Of course, this shows how much Cathy loved Heathcliff as much as the latter did since he ran away after he heard that Cathy was going to marry Edgar. Cathy’s death troubled Heathcliff so much as he could not understand how he was going to live without his soul mate, a fact that made him oppress Isabella, promptingher to leave him finally.


Work Cited

Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 6th ed., OUP Oxford, 2009

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