What actually leads to the changes in the lives of the characters in the novel Wuthering Heights? I think Catherine Earnshaw is to be blamed for the downfall of all the charcters in her generation, and to certain extent to her next generation as well.....
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I'm not sure why this question did not get moved before. Nonetheless, it's in the right place now. You can't blame Catherine for everything that goes wrong in the story. That's part of the point, in my opinion. All of the characters need to learn to take responsability for their actions. Actions have consequences.
While I do agree that Mr. Earnshaw begins the downward spiral that leads to multiple deaths, Heathcliff's warped sense of justice results in most of the changes. Each character is responsible for his or her actions, but Heathcliff is relentless in his pursuit of what he believes should be his and makes it difficult for characters to combat his manipulation.
If you're going to blame someone for the downfall, we might say that Mr. Earnshaw (the father) set the wheels in motion when he brought the young Heathcliff home from London. Raising Heathcliff as one of his own, ensured that he would have a sense of entitlement. This threatened Hindley, and then to find out his own father preferred Heathcliff would have been enough motivation for the actions Hindley took against Heathcliff. Actions that Heathcliff would later avenge.
As much as you can point the finger at Catherine, Heathcliff is very responsible for much of the misery in the novel too. Heathcliff doesn't let the hurts of his childhood resolve themselves, and instead he returns to Wurthering Heights determined to seek vengeance on everyone around him. All of his choices lead back to that cause and he ends up miserable and alone having ruined Isabella and Hindley and coming close to ruining Little Cathy and Hareton.
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