What is Catherine's mental and physical condition in chapter 15 of Wuthering Heights?
The formerly fierce and high-spirited Catherine is much altered in this chapter. We learn that:
The flash of her eyes had been succeeded by a dreamy and melancholy softness; they no longer gave the impression of looking at the objects around her: they appeared always to gaze beyond, and far beyond.
As the quote above states, she has become unfocused and dreamy. She seems to have mentally departed from the world around her. She has gone from being a hard, strong-willed person to one who has become sad and soft.
Along with her mental state, her physical state has also altered dramatically. Nelly Dean says that is clear from looking at her that she is dying. She is pale and listless.
Yet when Heathcliff comes to see her, she rallies and becomes her old, violent, intensely engaged self for a few last minutes. She speaks harshly to Heathcliff, accusing him of killing her, and she holds onto him tightly. Light comes back into her eye, and she grasps his hair so tightly that she pulls some of it out his head:
Her present countenance had a wild vindictiveness in its white cheek, and a bloodless lip and scintillating eye; and she retained in her closed fingers a portion of the locks she had been grasping.
A short time later, she is able somehow to leap into Heathcliff's arms for one last passionate embrace. She focuses her attention on addressing him. She manages to press her hand to his neck and her cheek to his cheek. She tells him:
"If I’ve done wrong, I’m dying for it. It is enough! You left me too: but I won’t upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!"
As the sounds of Linton's arrival can be heard, Catherine still refuses to let Heathcliff go, then, finally faints. Seeing, speaking passionately to, and embracing Heathcliff are her last willed acts before her child is born and she dies.
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