Pampered, sheltered and utterly bored, Isabella Linton aka Mrs. Heathcliff, is sort of a sideways Cinderella. In her desperate attempt to escape her boring, yet privileged existence, she blinds herself to the publicly known dark personality traits of her sister-in-law's handsome, confident friend Heathcliff and falls in love with him and elopes with him. Once married, he imprisons her in his rough, neglected house and treats her like a slave and a whipping girl to purposely degrade and humiliate her as an act of revenge toward her brother while he waits to inherit her property. Tag poor Isabella used and abused.
The first time I read Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte's one and only novel, I thought Isabella was a really stupid girl unworthy of any sympathy at all and even deserved what she got for being so stupid. However, I've read the novel several times over the years and it seems to magically change and I get something new out of it or my opinion or feelings change over particular scenes every time I read it.
Everyone told Isabella what an evil person Heathcliff was, but she gave up everything and everyone in her life to run away with him. This reading, though, I felt sorry for her and realized she only behaved like a typical teenage girl, thinking everyone who was trying to warn her was wrong and only trying to destroy her chance at happiness. There were many times one of my daughters accused me of "being mean" and accused me of hating her and always trying to prevent her from having any fun when I would forbid her from doing something foolish or dangerous. Poor Isabella no longer had parents to guide her, just her wishy washy brother Edqar who, basically, did the same thing she did by marrying Catherine Earnshaw after witnessing one of her violent tantrums, even enduring physical abuse at her hands.
Imagine how boring Isabella's life was before Heathcliff reappeared on the scene. They sat in the parlor or walked in the yard every day except Sunday when they went to church. I would go insane living like that with no internet, TV or radio to keep me in touch with the outside world. Considering that, most any young lady would get all starry eyed and temporarily lose her mind if a handsome sharp dressed guy showed up. The excitement and adventure of first love and elopement would be very tempting and it would be easy to see only what you want and hope for passion and romance.
Isabella's prince charming turnouts out to be the prince of darkness after the marriage ceremony. Can you imagine what the wedding night was like?