I watched the 2009 version of this Emily Brontë classic last night on PBS.
Tom Hardy, who played Heathcliff, was at his most voluptuous in this TV mini-series. Compared with others who have played this role, he did not need to overact to suggest malicious intent: he just stood there and smouldered.
Charlotte Riley, who played Cathy, must have enjoyed kissing his lips, because she married him in 2014.
Heathcliff and Cathy
As the star-crossed and fated lovers in this story, Heathcliff and Cathy represent darkness and light. The two became obsessed with each other, to the point of distraction.
Cathy tried her best to remain a respectable woman of class, but her love for Heathcliff seemed to make her throw caution to the windy moors.
Heathcliff, on the other hand, found his Gypsy status very difficult to overcome, especially in the eyes of the rest of the family.
The Family Dynamics
Hindley, Cathy’s brother, was especially nasty to Heathcliff, essentially trying to show him what his station in life really was, and keeping him under Hindley’s boot. Hindley is the true villain of the piece, representing the British class system of the 18th Century.
Edgar Linton, Cathy’s husband, was a gentleman, but seemed a bit too effeminate for Cathy. He made an interesting diversion for her, keeping her company and eventually marrying her, after Heathcliff went away for three years. But then Heathcliff came back on the scene, after making his fortune “taking advantage of other men’s weaknesses.”
So, to spite Cathy, Heathcliff marries Isabella, Edgar’s sister. Two children are born later that same year, Catherine (Edgar and Cathy’s daughter) and Linton (Heathcliff and Isabella’s son).
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange
The interplay of darkness and light is the most evident when comparing the Earnshaw residence (Wuthering Heights) with the Linton home (Thrushcross Grange): the first is gloomy and stuffy; the second is bright and airy.
Because of this, you always know where you are, as it were. Atmosphere is a word that evokes an interesting thought: atom and sphere (‘s fear). It’s in the very fabric of these properties, and as such makes the story much easier to comprehend. This goes back to the ‘nature versus nurture’ argument. You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy (and girl).
There are several themes that come to completion in the story of Heathcliff and Cathy’s love. The most obvious is about family. Catherine and Hareton are the new Cathy and Heathcliff. The scene of them sharing the book Ivanhoe may have been the reason Heathcliff finally ends it all.
The less obvious, but more important, is the fact that Love survives Death, and the lovers are reunited at Wuthering Heights.