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The Reader's Guide to Wuthering Heights

Isabella Linton

Isabella is Edgar's younger sister. Weak and spoilt as a child, she becomes infatuated by Heathcliff, seeing him as a romantic hero. He despises her and uses her purely as a tool in his revenge. She is a contrast both physically and spiritually to Catherine.

Geraldine Fitzgerald as Isabella Linton
Geraldine Fitzgerald from the 1939 film
 
Hilary Heath as Isabella Linton
Hilary Heath (Dwyer) from the 1970 film
 
Caroline Langrishe as Isabella Linton
Caroline Langrishe from the 1978 TV drama
Sophie Ward as Isabella Linton
Sophie Ward from the 1992 film
 
Flora Montgomery as Isabella Linton
Flora Montgomery from the 1998  TV drama
Rosalind Halstead as Isabella Linton
Rosalind Halstead from the 2009  TV drama
Nichola Burley as Isabella Linton
Nichola Burley from the 2011 film
 

Vital Data
Parents: Mr and Mrs Linton Siblings: Edgar Linton (brother – 3 years older)
Date of birth: late 1765 Place of birth: Thrushcross Grange (assumed)
Married: Heathcliff in February 1784 Children: Linton Heathcliff, born 1784
Date of death: about July 1797 (aged 31) Place of death: Near London (assumed)
Physical description: pale skin; blonde hair; blue eyes

Quotes

(1777, probably aged 12 despite Heathcliff's statement) Isabella—I believe she is eleven, a year younger than Cathy—lay screaming at the farther end of the room, shrieking as if witches were running red-hot needles into her.

(1783, aged 18) I [Catherine] never feel hurt at the brightness of Isabella's yellow hair and the whiteness of her skin, at her dainty elegance, and the fondness all the family exhibit for her.

(1783, aged 18) She was at that time a charming young lady of eighteen; infantile in manners, though possessed of keen wit, keen feelings, and a keen temper, too, if irritated.

(1783, aged 18 ) 'You'd hear of odd things if I lived alone with that mawkish, waxen face [Isabella's]: the most ordinary would be painting on its white the colours of the rainbow, and turning the blue eyes black, every day or two: they detestably resemble Linton's.'

(1784, aged 18) '[Isabella] abandoned them under a delusion,' [Heathcliff] answered; 'picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting on the false impressions she cherished. But, at last, I think she begins to know me: I don't perceive the silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me at first; and the senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation and herself. It was a marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her. I believed, at one time, no lessons could teach her that! … Are you sure you hate me? If I let you alone for half a day, won't you come sighing and wheedling to me again?'

(1784, aged 18) I [Heathcliff] never, in all my life, met with such an abject thing as she is. She even disgraces the name of Linton; and I've sometimes relented, from pure lack of invention, in my experiments on what she could endure, and still creep shamefully cringing back!

(1797, aged 31) Her family were of a delicate constitution: she and Edgar both lacked the ruddy health that you will generally meet in these parts. What her last illness was, I am not certain: I conjecture, they died of the same thing, a kind of fever, slow at its commencement, but incurable, and rapidly consuming life towards the close.