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Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë
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What is the significance of the death of Edgar Linton in Wuthering Heights?

The significance of Edgar Linton's death in Wuthering Heights is that it allows Heathcliff to open Catherine's grave, look at her corpse, and gain some peace. From this point, Heathcliff loses interest in harming those around him as he prepares for death.

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Edgar Linton's death is chiefly significant in that it marks a change in Heathcliff. When the sexton digs out Edgar's grave next to Catherine's, Heathcliff bribes the sexton to pry the lid off Catherine's casket, so that he can see her. This gives him some peace, as she has not...

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Edgar Linton's death is chiefly significant in that it marks a change in Heathcliff. When the sexton digs out Edgar's grave next to Catherine's, Heathcliff bribes the sexton to pry the lid off Catherine's casket, so that he can see her. This gives him some peace, as she has not changed so much. He also has the sexton knock out the side of her coffin closest to where he, Heathcliff, will be buried and to promise to do the same to his own coffin when the time comes.

All of this helps Heathcliff cope after his 18 years of agony. He becomes quieter now, waiting for death. Most significantly, he loses his will to destroy the relationship between the young Cathy and Hareton. He has wanted to gain revenge on Edgar and Hindley by destroying the happiness of their children as his happiness with the older Catherine was destroyed. Now he watches them, with some anguish because of how much they remind him of the past, but as he says:

My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; and none could hinder me. But where is the use? I don’t care for striking: I can’t take the trouble to raise my hand!

He says this is not because he suddenly become generous or kind-hearted; he is simply past caring. He says a change is coming, and, in fact, he soon will die. His loss of interest in harming Hareton or Cathy allows the wounds of the past to heal with their marriage.

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