PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Psychological interpretation of Wuthering Heights talks about relationships between individuals and society. It can also be taken as a representation of society where situations and vistas change thinking and mental actions of people. We will use some Freudian theories while studying different characters and their implication on society.

According to Freud, there are three different kinds of mental processes that result in three kinds of personalities. Those are Id, Ego and Superego.

Id is related to man’s animalistic instinctive and attitude. It seeks pleasure in pain and roughness of life. According to Psychology, two most important characteristics of id are pleasure and death principles or pain, which is also known as Thanatos. In Wuthering Heights, Heath cliff represents all the qualities of id. His losses of identity, untamed nature, and vengeful attitude towards society are all the traits of id. Id shows primitive feelings of human beings and remains unaffected by time. So is the case with Heathcliff. Until his death, his vengeful nature and his desperation remain unchanged. He shows roughness of life, on which love has no effect. It remains embedded in his unconscious which is also referred to as a ‘dark continent’ in psychology, a continent where all the evils hide and justify themselves.

Ego relates to society. It is said to be self-reliant and has an internal sense of right and wrong. Full of emotions and excitement, ego is not wild as id. Catherine possesses the characteristics of ego in Wuthering Heights. She knows what is right and what is wrong and has space to accept or reject something. She tests the patience if id (Heathcliff) and tries to keep a balance between id and superego, which is Linton in this novel. It is said that ego has the capacity to improve and when improved, it becomes superego. Because what one person (ego) thinks, right and wrong, if coincides with the thinking of a larger group of people, it results in society (superego). As we see, that when ego (Catherine) stays at superego’s (Linton) for three months, she transforms into superego.

Superego, as discussed above, is society. It manifests the qualities of sophistication, balance and proper behavior. It can never be wrong completely. It is full of love and compassion and morality as well. Linton is portraying superego in this novel, full of civilized culture, proper behavior. He is an educated person who knows how to handle difficult situations and work hard. Unlike Heath cliff, which is slave to his unconscious, Linton uses his conscious and judges all the situations dispassionately.

This novel also shows the ‘alternation of generation’ quality i.e. in the next generation, all the characters and their personas are altered. In the next young generation, young Catherine has now improved to superego, Linton changes from superego to ego and Hareton represents id.

 By Atique (183/10)

    

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