55 of The Best Wuthering Heights Quotes

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Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is an undisputed romantic classic, but unlike many of the love stories of the 19th century, it’s steeped in gothic themes of violence, revenge, and death.

The story follows the mysterious and wealthy Heathcliff, landowner of the Wuthering Heights estate. As the tale unfolds, so does Heathcliff’s troubled and turbulent past, which has led him on a bloodthirsty quest for revenge.

Although Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s one and only novel, she’s often hailed as the greatest of her world-famous literary sisters.

Today, this iconic tale is one of the most recognized classics of its time, but like many books of this caliber, it was met with mixed reviews when it was published in 1847. The Victorian moral classes found the gothic themes too shocking and controversial, but with controversy comes publicity, and Wuthering Heights has remained at the forefront of classic romance literature ever since.

If you’re in the mood for some dark romance, then look no further. I’ve compiled a list of 55 of the best Wuthering Heights quotes. I’ve also included a bonus breakdown of the main characters from this timeless tale.

Wuthering Heights Quotes

Wuthering Heights Quotes

“You teach me now how cruel you’ve been—cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort.”

– Heathcliff.

“You are welcome to torture me to death for your amusement, only allow me to amuse myself a little in the same style, and refrain from insult as much as you are able.”

– Heathcliff.

“Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.”

– Isabella.

“However miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery.”

– Catherine.

“In every cloud, in every tree-filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object, by day I am surrounded with her image!”

– Heathcliff.

“Are you possessed with a devil, ‘to talk in that manner to me when you are dying? Do you reflect that all those words will be branded in my memory and eating deeper eternally after you have left me?” – Heathcliff.

“My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”

– Catherine.

“If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as I could in a day.”

– Heathcliff.

“About twelve o’clock, that night, was born the Catherine you saw at Wuthering Heights: a puny, seven months’ child; and two hours after the mother died, having never recovered sufficient consciousness to miss Heathcliff, or know Edgar.”

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

– Catherine.

“You know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!”

– Heathcliff.

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”

“Misery and death and all the evils that God and man could have ever done would never have patted us.”

“But I begin to fancy you don’t like me. How strange! I thought, though everybody hated and despised each other, they could not avoid loving me.”

“I wish I had light hair and a fair skin, and was dressed, and behaved as well, and had a chance of being as rich as he will be!”

– Heathcliff.

“Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, ‘Let me in!”

– Lockwood.

“I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething, and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.”

“My confessions have not relieved me; but they may account for some otherwise unaccountable phases of humor which I show. O, God! It is a long fight; I wish it were over!”

“I have to remind myself to breathe – almost to remind my heart to beat!”

– Heathcliff.

“I wish I were out of doors! I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy, and free . . . and laughing at injuries, not maddening under them!”

– Catherine.

“You teach me now how cruel you’ve been—cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort.”

– Heathcliff.

“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff!”

– Catherine

“Pray, don’t imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior! He’s not a rough diamond, a pearl containing oyster of a rustic: he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man.”

– Catherine.

“Heaven did not seem to be my home, and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth, and the angels grew so angry that they flung me out onto the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke to sob for joy.”

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it—but take care not to smile at any part of it.”

“She could be soft and mild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive expression: her anger was never furious; her love never fierce; it was deep and tender.”

Nelly Dean

“Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! . . . It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”

– Heathcliff.

“He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive, and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his, and he said he could not breathe in mine.”

“I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong.”

– Catherine.

“I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.”

– Lockwood.

“If you have not the courage to attack him, make an apology or allow yourself to be beaten. It will correct you of feigning more valor than you possess.”

“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.”

“Why, how very black and cross you look! And how – how funny and grim! But that’s because I’m used to Edgar and Isabella Linton…”

“It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands,’ he answered. ‘Kiss me again; don’t let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer—but yours! How can I?”

– Heathcliff.

“Let him dare to force you … There’s law in the land, thank God! there is, though we be in an out-of-the-way place. I’d inform if he were my own son: and it’s felony without benefit of clergy!”

– Ellen.

“You know as well as I do that for every thought she spends on Linton, she spends a thousand on me!”

– Heathcliff.

“Linton is all I have to love in the world, and though you have done what you could to make him hateful to me and me to him, you cannot make us hate each other. And I defy you to hurt him when I am by, and I defy you to frighten me!”

– Catherine.

“Yet, still, I don’t like being out in the dark now; and I don’t like being left by myself in this grim house: I cannot help it; I shall be glad when they leave it, and shift to the Grange.”

– Nelly

“Time brought resignation and a melancholy sweeter than common joy.”

“In the first place, his startling likeness to Catherine connected him fearfully with her. That, however, which you may suppose the most potent to arrest my imagination, is actually the least – for what is not connected with her to me? And what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped on the flags! In every cloud, in every tree – filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object, by day I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men and women – my own features mock me with a resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist and that I have lost her!”

“He has no claim on my charity. I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death, and flung it back to me.”

– Isabella.

“Guests are so exceedingly rare in this house that I and my dogs, I am willing to own, hardly know how to receive them.”

– Heathcliff.

“Do I want to live? Would you like to live with your soul in the grave?”

– Heathcliff.

“It is a moral teething, and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.”

– Heathcliff.

“If the dead villain could rise from his grave to abuse me for his offspring’s wrongs, I should have the fun of seeing the said offspring fight him back again, indignant that he should dare to rail at the one friend he has in the world!”

– Heathcliff.

“I seek no revenge on you. That’s not the plan. The Tyrant grinds down his slaves, and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.”

“It is not in him to be loved like me: how can she love in him what he has not?”

Heathcliff

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on! I killed you. Haunt me, then. Haunt your murderer! I know that ghosts have wandered on the earth.’

“It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.”

– Nelly Dean.

“Small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck;”

– Catherine Jr

“You needn’t have touched me! I shall be as dirty as I please, and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty.”

“As different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from fire.”

“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am.”

– Catherine.

“Oh, I’ve endured very, very bitter misery, Nelly! If that creature knew how bitter, he’d be ashamed to cloud its removal with idle petulance. It was kindness for him which induced me to bear it alone . . . However, it’s over, and I’ll take no revenge on his folly.”

“In my soul and in my heart, I’m convinced I’m wrong!”

Prominent Characters from Wuthering Heights

Prominent Characters from Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights has an unforgettable cast of characters. Here’s a quick introduction to these literary legends.

Heathcliff

The book’s handsome and brooding main character is rough around the edges, to say the least. Growing up as an orphan in abject poverty, Heathcliff has an awful lot of baggage to carry around, and he has a tendency to lash out and push people away. Even his newfound riches can’t make him happy, and when the love of his life, Catherine Earnshaw, breaks his heart, his behavior becomes more abusive than ever before.

He sets out on a bitter quest for revenge, a quest that not only destroys his own life but the lives of all of those around him.

Catherine Earnshaw

Catherine is the beautiful, spoilt, and tempestuous daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw, the wealthy landowners of the Wuthering Heights Estate.

When her parents bring the young orphaned Heathcliff home from Liverpool, she falls madly in love with him. Despite Catherine’s hot temper and Heathcliff’s stubborn and cruel nature, the pair become consumed in a passionate love affair. But her desire to climb the social ladder sways her affections towards Edward Linton, leaving Heathcliff in a jealous rage.

Edgar Linton

Catherine’s wealthy husband Edgar Linton is a well-bred man of high social standing. He’s affable, affectionate, a true gentleman, and the polar opposite of his rival, Heathcliff.

While Edgar loves Catherine with all of his heart, his gracious, civil, and mild-mannered nature makes him incompatible with his hot-headed wife and a poor match for Heathcliff’s vicious attacks.

Cathy Linton

Cathy (also referred to as Catherine in the original text) is the daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton. In many ways, Cathy is just like her mother; she’s headstrong, impulsive, and prone to occasional arrogance. But her father’s gentle nature also gives her a softer side, and she’s more compassionate and forgiving than her mother could ever be.

Nelly Dean

Nelly, known formally as Ellen, is Catherine Earnshaw’s servant. She’s a level-headed, down-to-earth woman with a caring and compassionate nature, and she’s also the main narrator of the story. Despite the often cruel actions of people around her, she cares deeply for them, which influences her version of events.

Lockwood

Lockwood is a tenant living at Heathcliff’s Thrushcross Grange estate. He’s the impetus for many of the major events of the story, yet his character exists as an outsider whose sole purpose is to gain inside information on those at the center of the plot.

As a secondary narrator to Nelly, Lockwood’s snobbish and presumptuous nature and his inability to relate to the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights mean he doesn’t always understand the events unfolding around him.

Isabella Linton

Edgar Linton’s sister Isabella is infatuated with her brother’s arch-nemesis Heathcliff. Despite showing nothing but cruelty and disdain towards her, she’s blind to his abusive nature. Instead, she sees a wild, passionate, misunderstood man. Eventually, Isabella gets her to wish, and the pair are married, but to Heathcliff, Isabella is still nothing more than a pawn in his endless quest for revenge.

Linton Heathcliff

Linton, son of Heathcliff and Isabella, is disliked by almost everyone around him. He’s weak-willed, entitled, lacking in character, and spends much of his life perpetually ill.

He’s thirteen years old before he meets his estranged father, but after the death of his mother, he has no choice but to go and live with him at his estate. Heathcliff uses Linton as another tool in his bitter quest for revenge by forcing him to marry the daughter of his arch-nemesis, Edgar.

Hindley Earnshaw

Catherine Earnshaw’s brother, Hindley, has always resented Heathcliff, ever since his parents brought him to live at Wuthering Heights as a child. When Hindley’s father dies, and he inherits the family estate, his resentment and jealousy escalate. He ostracises Heathcliff from the rest of the family, forcing him to abandon his education and work out in the fields. But his bitterness and hatred are no match for Heathcliff, who eventually gets his revenge.

Hareton Earnshaw

Hareton is Hindley Earnshaw’s son and the nephew of Catherine Earnshaw. After Hindley dies, Hareton is sent to live with Heathcliff, who sees it as the perfect opportunity for revenge. He treats Hareton in the same compassionless way that Hindley treated him as a child, forcing him to work out in the fields with no access to formal education.

But despite his tough childhood, Hareton has a kind soul and a forgiving nature, and he’s the only one to mourn Heathcliff’s eventual death.

Conclusion

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is the perfect romance for readers who want to bypass the sappy stuff and explore the raw, heartwrenching, and destructive side of love.

Have I missed any of your favorite quotes from this classic tale? Let me know in the comments below!

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