How will the marriage of Cathy help Heathcliff in the future?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Cathy says the only reason she even considered marrying Linton was to help Heathcliff. She explains to Nelly Dean that she can't marry Heathcliff now, despite her deep love for him, because Hindley has degraded him too far by turning him into a farmhand. If they were to marry, they would have no money. However, if she marries Edgar, she can keep Heathcliff close to her, but, more importantly, Edgar can use his connections to help Heathcliff get ahead in the world. As Cathy puts it:

"Nelly, I see now you think me a selfish wretch; but did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars? whereas, if I marry Linton I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother’s power."

When Nelly says that Edgar may not be interested in helping Heathcliff or having him around, Cathy passionately explains that he must learn to tolerate Heathcliff, for her life is worthless without him:

"Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing before I could consent to forsake Heathcliff. Oh, that’s not what I intend that’s not what I mean! I shouldn’t be Mrs. Linton were such a price demanded!"

Nelly scolds Cathy for marrying a man she doesn't love for the sake of the one she does and warns her that the future may not go as smoothly as she thinks it will. Cathy, however, is undeterred.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After the hardships and discrimination that Heathcliff endured early in his years at Wuthering Heights, he returns a wealthy yet vengeful man.  His targets are the two men he believes wronged him in his earlier days: Hindley, for making him the lowest of servants, and Edgar, for marrying his beloved Catherine.  

When Catherine dies giving birth to her daughter, Cathy, Heathcliff is heartbroken but still eager for revenge.  He has already hurt Hindley by buying the Heights and turning Hareton into a servant.  He has also hurt Edgar by luring his sister into and abusive marriage and having a child with her.  He has the Heights but wants the Grange as well.  

His son, Linton, and Cathy's marriage will secure that he can inherit the Grange. Edgar is dying, so his sole inheritance falls on Cathy.  Once Cathy marries Linton, her property naturally transfers to her husband.  Linton, too, is dying.  Heathcliff has to make sure that the marriage takes place before Linton passes.  Once he does, Cathy's inheritance is secure in Heathcliff's hands.  His revenge is complete.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial