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Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, consists of many characters whose paths throughout the novel become interwoven. One of these characters is Edgar Linton. Though he does not play a main role in the novel, he is never the less important as he stands as the point of separation between Heathcliff and Catherine. It may be argued that Catherine is better to have married Edgar, as he could provide sufficient love and care for her. The truth is however, that Edgar Linton is a poor excuse for a husband, and no woman would be happy to be is wife.

Even in his childhood, Edgar displays many qualities that make him an unsuitable husband, especially for the independent and strong willed Catherine. Edgar is weak and afraid of those stronger than he is, “And cried for Mamma at every turn, and trembled if a country lad heaved his fist against you, and sat at home all day for a shower of rain.” (Wuthering Heights, page 60). As well, Edgar is spoiled and selfish, getting into an argument with his sister and then crying over it.

“Isabella… lay screaming at the farther end of the room, shrieking as if witches were running red-hot needles into her. Edgar stood on the hearth weeping silently, and in the middle of the table sat a little dog, shaking its paw and yelping, which, from their mutual accusations, we understood they had nearly pulled in two between them…That was their pleasure! To quarrel who should hold a heap of warm hair, and each began to cry because both, after struggling to get it, refused to take it.” (Wuthering Heights, page 51).

These are not the characteristics of a gentleman much less a suitable husband.

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Edgar is a cowardly, spineless man, who can hardly stand up for himself let alone his wife. After an argument with Heathcliff, Edgar hits him off guard and then runs away to get help from the gardeners and the coachmen because he is afraid to defend himself.

“The fellow approached and gave the chair on which Linton rested a push. He’d better have kept his distance my master quickly sprang erect, and struck him full on the throat with a blow that would have leveled a slighter man. It took his breath for a minute; and, while he choked, Mr. Linton walked out by the back door into the yard, and from thence, to the front entrance.” (Wuthering Heights, page 16).

A husband should stand up for his wife if she is in trouble, as well as be able to stand up for himself. Instead, Edgar runs to find people that he must pay to fight for him. This incident not only displays the qualities of a weak man, but also the qualities of a weak husband.

Not only is Edgar not able to stand up for himself, he is unable to stand up to Catherine and say no to her. Instead Edgar gives in to Catherine’s whims, bending over backwards to please her.

“I observed that Mr. Edgar had a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humour. He concealed it from her, but if ever he heard me answer sharply, or saw any other servant grow cloudy at some imperious order of hers, he would show his trouble by a frown of displeasure that never darkened on his own account. He many a time spoke sternly to me about my pertness, and averred that the stab of a knife could not inflict a worse pang than he suffered at seeing his lady vexed.” (Wuthering Heights, page 100)

Edgar’s behaviour towards Catherine causes her to become even more spoiled than before. Not only does she become spoiled however, she also continually loses respect for Edgar because he refuses to stand up to her.

Because of his feeble nature and spoiled childhood, Edgar Linton is a poor excuse for a husband and no woman would want to be his wife. He is unable to make Catherine happy because he is too weak and self absorbed to truly love her and provide her with the care that a wife deserves. The truth is, Edgar Linton could not make any woman happy, instead he could only make her regret ever marrying him.


Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. United States Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., 188



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