Heathcliff The main character. Orphaned as a child, he is constantly on the outside, constantly losing people. Although he and Catherine Earnshaw profess that they complete each other, her decision to marry Edgar Linton almost destroys their relationship. He spends most of his life contemplating and acting out revenge. He is abusive, brutal, and cruel.
Catherine Earnshaw The love of Heathcliff’s life. Wild, impetuous, and arrogant as a child, she grows up getting everything she wants. When two men fall in love with her, she torments both of them. Ultimately, Catherine’s selfishness ends up hurting everyone she loves, including herself.
Edgar Linton Catherine’s husband and Heathcliff’s rival. Well-mannered and well-to-do, he falls in love with and marries Catherine. His love for her enables him to overlook their incompatible natures.
Cathy Linton Daughter of Catherine and Edgar. A mild form of her mother, she serves as a reminder of her mother’s strengths and weaknesses. (Note: For the purpose of clarity, the younger Catherine is referred to as “Cathy” in this Note, and her mother is referred to as “Catherine.” This convention is not used in the original text.)
Linton Heathcliff Son of Heathcliff and Isabella. Weak and whiny (both physically and emotionally), he serves as a pawn in Heathcliff’s game of revenge. He marries Cathy.
Hareton Earnshaw Catherine’s nephew, son of Hindley. Although uneducated and unrefined, Hareton has a staunch sense of pride. He is attracted to Cathy but put off by her attitude. His generous heart enables the two of them to eventually fall in love and marry. Hareton is the only person to mourn Heathcliff’s death.
Ellen (Nelly) Dean The primary narrator and Catherine’s servant. Although she is one person capable of relating the majority of the events that occurred, she is not without bias.
Lockwood Heathcliff’s tenant at Thrushcross Grange and the impetus for Nelly’s narration. Although he serves primarily as the catalyst for the story, Lockwood’s role is an outsider who happens to gain inside information. His visit to Wuthering Heights and subsequent actions directly affect the plot.
Mr. Earnshaw Catherine’s father. He brings Heathcliff into his family and soon favors the orphan over his own son, Hindley.
Mrs. Earnshaw Catherine’s mother. Not much is known about her, except that she favors her own son to Heathcliff, whom she does not like.
Hindley Earnshaw Catherine’s brother. Jealous of Heathcliff, he takes a bit of revenge on Heathcliff after his father dies. He proves to be no match for Heathcliff, however, eventually losing his son and his family’s home.
Frances Earnshaw Hindley’s wife. A sickly woman who dies soon after Hareton is born.
Joseph Servant at Wuthering Heights. A hypocritical zealot who possesses a religious fanaticism that most find wearisome.
Mr. and Mrs. Linton Edgar’s parents. They welcome Catherine into her home, introducing her to the life in upper society. They die soon after nursing Catherine back to health.
Isabella Edgar’s sister. Her infatuation with Heathcliff causes her to destroy her relationship with her brother. She experiences Heathcliff’s brutality first hand. She flees to London where she gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, but her attempts to keep her son from his father fail.
Zillah Heathcliff’s housekeeper. She saves Lockwood from a pack of dogs and serves as Nelly’s source of information at Wuthering Heights.