Who Became Infatuated With Heathcliff?

Updated 30 September, 2023
In Wuthering Heights, Isabella Linton gets infaturated with Heathcliff, the male protagonist of the story. Isabella truly loves Heathcliff but is a powerless victim to his cruelty and abuse, as he marries Isabella Linton with the sole intention of inheriting Thrushcross Grange.
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Isabella is a character who is presented as a typical middle-class young woman with romantic delusions which indicates that she represents an oppressed girl which is a gothic mode. She believes Heathcliff as a Romantic Hero, but the reality turns from an erotic dream into a gothic nightmare. Which approves that she is a damsel in distress who relies on a male to rescue her, as many women did in the 19the century.
Isabella truly loves Heathcliff but is a powerless victim to his cruelty and abuse. Isabella’s “naive infatuation with Heathcliff leads to her eloping with him”. In her letter to Nelly after her hasty marriage she expresses her “despair at finding nobody who could or would be her ally against Heathcliff” and that she has “wild regrets and dismal anticipations”. In the letter, Bronte makes several allusions to the idea that Heathcliff domestically abuses Isabella during their short marriage, and being aware of his capricious and violent nature, a reader can easily believe this to be the case. Her infatuation only harms her. Isabella regrets her love for such a violent man, prompting her to ponder “Is Mr Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?” This relates to the struggle many readers face while reading Wuthering Heights in identifying their attitude towards Heathcliff.
Isabella Linton is known for being naive and imprudent. She is not able to comprehend the real world, as she lives in a romanticized dream where Heathcliff is a hero. These fantasy like characteristics stem from her upbringing in the Linton household at Thrushcross Grange, where Isabella is spoiled and given every luxury she ever wishes for. Anyone that is not of high class or wealthy is weak, to Isabella. As a result, she ends up marrying Heathcliff who is not of high class, as well as being mistreated by him. However, after spending so much time with her husband at the Heights, she changes from being stuck up and immature to someone filled with anger and rage. Before running away from her terrible marriage, she comes to visit Nelly filled with irritation, 'I'll smash it...I'll burn it!' (Isabella Linton).

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