Pip vs Heathcliff: Love or Obsession?

I feel as though the more I read of Great Expectations the more similarities I see between the main character Pip and the main character of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff. While reading chapter 44 from this week’s reading one part in particular stuck out to me. It is the moment when Pip finally confesses his love for Estella. He says, “Estella, you know I love you. You know I have loved you long and dearly.” This immediately makes me think back to our reading of Wuthering Heights and how Heathcliff no matter what, continues to love Catherine. This is something Pip and Heathcliff have in common, they try to make themselves into gentlemen for the women they love and even though they know it might be impossible for them to be together, they continue to love them regardless. Although, it may sound endearing that these men will always love these women, I can’t help but think it seems to be a little more of obsession or infatuation than real love. A little later on in chapter 44 Pip says, “I know. I know I have no hope that I shall call you mine, Estella. I am ignorant what may become of me very soon, how poor I may be, or where I may go. Still, I love you. I have loved you ever since I first saw you in this house.” It seems to me that Pip is just ponding over Estella even though he knows she’ll never love him back. Even still, his love for her is overpowering and he feels the need to express his feelings for her, no matter how desperate he seems. In Heathcliff’s case, he knows Catherine loves him but because of social and economic reasons and perhaps even her own selfish reasons, she decides to marry Edgar instead. It seems that both Estella and Catherine are women who have a powerful hold over men like Pip and Heathcliff and it causes them to act out in ways that might mean to be loving but in the end comes off as obsessive or neurotic.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.