Is Edgar Linton a character to be admired or merely a weak, insipid man?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly many little boys who seem frail and whiny as children grow up to be thoughtful, sensitive, and caring human beings, and Edgar is one of these.  He takes loving care of Cathy when she is ill, and he provides a  home for her during her life that is safe although not exciting.  Much of Wuthering Heightsis about finding a balance between the stormy emotion of Heathcliff and the refinement--that can become insipid--of the Lintons.  It's a matter of too much civilization (culture) or too little of it.  When Edgar is at his best, he presents himself as a cultured and refined man who is caring and good, but culture needs a dash of the wild, Bronte suggests, to keep it vital and alive.

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, for the most part it's hard to be a fan of Edgar's.  He seems so weak in comparison to other characters.  When Heathcliff decries his own looks in favor of Edgars, and wishes he had his life, Nelly retorts, ""And cried for Mamma at every turn, and trembled if a country lad heaved his fist against you, and sat at home all day for a shower of rain?"  Obviously she doesn't think much of Edgar as a man.

Yet, when Edgar's wife dies, he displays remarkable love and loyalty.  Observing his kindness, Nelly changes her mind about Edgar, realizing that he displayed "the true courage of a loyal and faithful soul: he trusted God; and God comforted him."