Catherine’s Sehnsucht


Wuthering Heights is the novel about Sehnsucht, but in one of its most extreme and pathological form. Even if the dialogues of the two protagonists, Heathcliff and Catherine, seem to express a kind of deep, absolute love (” he is more myself than I am” Catherine will confess) that may foreshadow some Romeo and Juliet actions, they actually will never succeed in staying together, at least in this world. It isn’t even correct to say succeed, because it would imply that there is a struggle for the sake of the couple. Not at all. Once set the social barrier that will divide them forever at  the beginning of the novel, they will begin to tease, hurt each other under the command of a destructive instinct . When Heathcliff comes back after few years and Catherine is now Mrs Linton, he only seeks revenge and wants her to suffer making her jealous seducing and then marrying her sister in law. It was Catherine who had chosen a comfortable and respectful life to love. She deserved punishment. Blinded by jealousy and resentment they won’t be able to crush the obstacles that separate them, but rather they will add some more. This violent longing will wear out Catherine in particular who has always shown a self-destructive nature. For example when Heathcliff mysteriosly disappears, she waits for him till night under the rain, consequently developing a dangerous fever or she decides to starve whenever things don’t go her way. Her mind and body grow weak page after page and even when Catherine meets Heathcliff for the last time , we understand that their mortal fight is suspended only because she is about to die. From now on, without her love, Heathcliff will long only for death, the place where he’ll meet her again. Maybe these are the words Cathy said when she had come back to take him there: