What is the role of marriage in Wuthering Heights?

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Marriage in Wuthering Heights separates people who are in love and causes misery to others. Bronte uses marriage to condemn patriarchal oppression.

The great tragedy of the novel is that its two most passionate lovers, Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, cannot marry because Heathcliff's position in life has been so degraded. Catherine marries a man she likes, but does not love, for status, safety, and wealth, but in the process breaks her own heart and Heathcliff's. Kind as Linton is, he cannot compete with Heathcliff for Catherine's heart and soul—but he can tyrannize over her by denying her access to Heathcliff. It doesn't take her long to die, torn apart by her emotions.

After Catherine's early death, Heathcliff, by now rich and successful, spends the rest of the novel using the power of patriarchy to create ruinous marriages to get revenge on those who separated he and his beloved. For instance, he exploits the language of the dark, brooding, Byronic lover to make Isabella believe he...

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