Chapter 14


Narrators: Nelly, and some Lockwood. 

Edgar will not communicate with Isabella. Nelly visits her and finds her a downtrodden prisoner, aware that Heathcliff has only married her to gain power over Edgar. Nelly reluctantly agrees to tell Heathcliff when Edgar is next away from home, and takes a letter from Heathcliff to Catherine. 


Heathcliff’s cruelty increases. He points out that he is not ‘a hero of romance’. The doctor’s arrival interrupts the story and provides some normality in the growing horror of Nelly’s tale.

I have nothing to forgive her: Forgiveness recurs often in the novel. Here Edgar claims not to need to forgive Isabella, but his comment that they are ‘eternally divided’ suggests otherwise. 

Torn his heart out and drank his blood: Heathcliff employs some extreme and vivid language, typical of the Gothic genre.

existence, after losing her, would be hell: Heathcliff’s existence depends on Catherine’s, as he believes hers does on his.

She degenerates into a mere slut!: under the influence of Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights, Isabella can do little else. Later, she shows the unexpected strength to run away, no easy option for a pregnant woman at the time. 

12 Labours of Hercules, 3rd century Roman reliefA labour of Hercules: in Greek legend, Hercules was given twelve difficult and dangerous tasks, so a labour of Hercules is an almost impossible task.

Brach: bitch.

The talk of a madman: do we think that Heathcliff is mad now? Isabella calls him ‘a monster, not a human being’ so has he become a supernatural Gothic villain? 

I fear it was wrong, though expedient: Nelly blames then excuses herself, which deflects the reader’s condemnation.

Dree: long and sad.

Investigating 14

  • Which characters prove able to forgive in Wuthering Heights? Is it only Hareton?
  • Make a list of the violent images used in this chapter.
    • Comment on the detail of each one.
  • Some critics think that Brontë has gone too far in stretching the reader’s credibility regarding Heathcliff’s language and actions. What is your view?
  • On a new sheet of paper go through the novel so far and make a note of how Nelly’s actions affect the plot for good or bad. Use the sheet to add notes from your subsequent reading.
    • What evidence is there to regard Nelly as a ‘villain’ of the novel?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.