Darwinian Wuthering Heights

Reading the Excerpt from Darwin’s “Origin of Species” made me think about how his theories related to Emily Bronte, and especially her novel , Wuthering Heights. When I really started thinking about it and even did a little research, I realized more and more that Wuthering Heights is almost a Darwinian novel in it’s own way. It was, of course, written before Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” but it presents similar views that were specific of a new, emerging culture, and it presents them in a completely different form. Darwin’s theory and presentation that humans are the same as animals in terms of natural selection almost seems to be mirrored in Wuthering Heights. We see so many characters die because they aren’t strong enough to overcome their illnesses. Edgar would be a perfect example of this. He is always described as being pale, frail and weak, and is often portrayed as the nemesis of Heathcliff, as they both want Catherine. Although Edgar does marry her, he also dies pretty early on in the book, whereas Heathcliff– the clearly stronger-willed, tough guy– lasts much longer into the narrative. This could go to show the Darwinian outlook that the weaker of a species MUST die out in order for a species to advance– including humans.

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