Throughout the novels Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte countless comparisons of eternal love can be made. Characters within Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre overcame the constraints society had upon them, what appeared to be their destinies and characters were able to overcome themselves. These obstacles were lengthy struggles that characters within each novel were faced with and went through immense pain all for love. The love that characters felt for each other was able to conquer all obstacles that they were faced with so that they could be together.
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The most important relationship in Wuthering Heights is that between Heathcliff and Catherine. The nature of their love seems to go beyond the kind of love most people know. In fact, it is as if their love is beyond this world, belonging on a spiritual plane that supercedes anything available to everyone else on Earth. It seems to be born out of their rebellion and not merely physical desire. They both, however, do not fully understand the nature of their love, for they betray one another: Each of them marries a person whom they know they do not love as much as they love each other.
Contrasting the capacity for love is the ability to hate. And Heathcliff hates with a vengeance. Heathcliff initially focuses his hate toward Hindley, then to Edgar, and then to a certain extent, to Catherine. Because of his hate, Heathcliff resorts to revenge. Hate and revenge intertwine with selfishness to reveal the conflicting emotions that drive people to do things that are not particularly rational. Jane Eyre is also the story of a quest to be loved. Jane searches, not just for romantic love, but also for a sense of being valued, of belonging.
Thus Jane says to Helen Burns: “ to gain some real affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest. ” Yet, over the course of the book, Jane must learn how to gain love without sacrificing and harming herself in the process. [pic][pic] Her fear of losing her independence motivates her refusal of Rochester’s marriage proposal.
Jane believes that “ marrying” Rochester while he remains legally tied to Bertha would mean rendering herself a mistress and sacrificing her own integrity for the sake of emotional gratification. On the other hand, her life at Moor House tests her in the opposite manner. There, she enjoys economic independence and engages in worthwhile and useful work, teaching the poor; yet she lacks emotional sustenance. Nonetheless, the events of Jane’s stay at Moor House are necessary tests of Jane’s autonomy. Only after proving her self-sufficiency to herself can the marriage can be one between equals.
As Jane says: “ I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine. . . . To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. . . . We are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result. ” Upon examination of these novels as a mirror to everyday individuals, it can be established that people are not able to distinguish between true love and their other emotions. There are those that, beyond doubt, possess true love yet are unable to acknowledge it while there are still those who believe they are in the throes of love when, indeed, they are not.
It becomes evident in both of these novels that the situation of undistinguishable love is a prevalent affair between the protagonists. In Jane Eyre, it becomes evident that the relationship between Jane and Rochester is one of definite and eternal love; a bond that strengthens them as true love should. In Wuthering Heights there lies the obsession with love, and the need to feel fulfilled. While one novel demonstrates love in a way that is what some would call conventional, some say Wuthering Heights does not. Many say that Jane Eyre ‘ s resolution is a happy one.
Jane finds Rochester and becomes very wealthy when a distant relative of hers dies in the right moment and leaves her the only heiress. In Wuthering Heights, the conclusion does not end so facilely. There is a period of time after Catherine’s death where Bronte continues to explore Heathcliff’s changes and the destiny of their children. Only after some time does Bronte suggest that Heathcliff and Catherine meet again in a supernatural state – possibly in heaven. This appears to allude to the fact that this couple’s love is held by destiny, though similar to Jane Eyre, it wasn’t until later that the lovers realized it.