Who in the World Is Edgar Linton?

         You are probably asking yourself who exactly is Edgar Linton? Well, that is an easy and a difficult question to answer.

         Edgar Linton is basically a secondary character in Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, filmed in 1939 by William Wyler. He is the son of Mr. Linton (Cecil Humphreys) and Mrs. Linton (not in the movie), the brother of Isabella Linton (Geraldine Fitzgerald), the father of Catherine Linton (not in the movie), and most importantly the man who stole Catherine Earnshaw (Merle Oberon) from Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier). It is my belief that poor Edgar Linton (David Niven) is overlooked as an important character in the story.

         Oh sure, you might say that he really did not steal Catherine from Heathcliff, and you are partly right. Heathcliff did have her in the spirit and soul, but it was Edgar who had her in the flesh and blood. He was also the only man to be with her intimately and to have a child with her in the book.

         Edgar, contrary to other opinions that I have heard, is a very strong character. Regardless of whether one has read the book or watched the film, Edgar comes across strong and confident. (Thanks to David Niven's effective presence on the screen, Edgar was portrayed a little stronger in the film, in my opinion). Edgar was also very loving and caring when it came to Catherine Earnshaw. He did everything he could to win her heart and took care of her when she was at her worst. Heathcliff had her heart, but where was he when she was ill? He was still brooding and working on his revenge. Even in the end after Catherine had died, Edgar still loved her but he went on with his life in the book; he did not sit around and make everything that he came in contact with spoiled and miserable.

         Edgar Linton was a strong and caring person to everyone, and that included Heathcliff. He might not have liked Heathcliff very much, but Edgar was still a gentleman to him. I believe that we all could learn something from Edgar's character as a man as well as from his strengths. To all those who think that Edgar Linton is weak and allows people to get the better of him, maybe such misguided people should rethink the way they would want others to treat them and learn to appreciate the gentlemanly way Edgar treats all people in Wuthering Heights.

Jack Becker

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