Characters: Lockwood and Heathcliff


PosterĄG Jenny Chang at 19:44:13 4/28/98 from t203-166.dialup.seed.net.tw
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Characters: Lockwood and Heathcliff
The name Lockwood and Heathcliff provides a great contrast. The name Lockwood suggests a suppression, a locking in of the natural forces, while the name Heathcliff, in contrast, suggest a force as wild and elemental as nature. Such contrast in the names provides the difference in their characters.
Lockwood's view of Heathcliff is that he will "love and hate, equally under cover", and then acknowledge this reserveness as his won attributes. In actual fact, Heathcliff is extremely capable of profound love and hate, and it is Lockwood himself who is incapable of passion. Once the woman he regards as a goddess shows her attraction to him, he "shrinks icily into himself". As an exact opposite, Heathcliff does not shrink but reach out for his "goddess", Catherine, even beyond death. Another thing is that Lockwood's view of love is very shallow and vain. He thinks that, if he wish, he could undoubtly win the heart of young Cathy because he is quite attractive. Such shallowness contrast the fierce intensity of passions of Heathcliff, and the profoundness of such love.
It is quite significant that Lockwood is the tenant of Thrushcross Grange. The contrast of values practiced at Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights plays an important role. One symbolizes a civilised society while the other symbolizes wild savage passions. The fact that Lockwood transgress to Wuthering Height establish the link and also the conflict between society and passion of heart (which knows no bound of the laws and order of society). And Lockwood represents the world of social manner in his attempt at social small talk about tea and weather, and this provides a big contrast to the savage passions of the other inhabitants of Wuthering Heights.
In fact, Lockwood is incapable of understanding the intensity of Heathcliff's passion, and he mistook the anguish of Heathcliff when he tells him that the room is haunted as "cowardice" and "superstition". For he himself, he regards social decorum as most important. Therefore he later refer to his nightmare as "ridiculous", in order to gain back such decorum. Yet, a person's inner psychology and unawared subconscious could be reflected in his dreams. And as sophisticated as he himself thinks to be, he is capable of savage cruelty when he rubs the wrist of a young child on the broken glass window until it runs with blood. The window which is characteristic of its fragililty reflects that no matter how the society cultivates decorm and sense, one is still fragile under the power and influence of irrational impulses.
Here, I would like to discuss the functions of the dogs and what they represents. Lockwood, the civilised being, pats one of Heathcliff's dogs but which only provoke the dog to snarl at him. And Heathcliff tells him that the bitch "was not kept for a pet". This can be compared to the scene at Thrushcross Grange where Heathcliff and Cathy laughs over the Lintons weeping for their pet dogs. In civilised society one regards dogs as plaything, while at Wuthering Heights they are savage and wild beasts. The savageness and wildness of the dogs serves as a function to portray the characteristics of Wuthering Height and what Heathcliff represents.
The attack of the dogs on Lockwood could reflect Heathcliff's won hatred of the values of civilised society. In fact, Lockwood serves as a foil to reflect a very important theme, and that is: the difference between the world of society, which is characteristic of being ordered and bound by law, and the extremes of passion which knows no bound. The "stormy weather" of Wuthering Height could be a reflection of the stormy passions of the love between Heathcliff and Catherine, and also the hate of Heathcliff for a society that denies him of that love. And that hatred is symolic in the dogs attack on Lockwood.


Response:

  • Re: Characters: Lockwood and Heathcliff -- Kate Liu 14:47:59 5/11/98

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