Isabella's son Linton is not Heathcliff's biological son.Isabella conceived him after she ran away. How many times does Nelly Dean observe that the blonde Linton looks nothing like Heathcliff? Heathcliff was content to take advantage of Isabella's infatuation with him to further his revenge schemes against Hindley and Edgar, but he also made it very clear to Nelly that he completely despised her, so in spite of the possible Fridge Horror, it doesn't seem likely he would ever have wanted to invoke the Marital Rape License against her. Of course, Heathcliff wouldn't tell anyone this because he needed an heir to complete his schemes of defrauding Edgar and Cathy (II) of their land.
- Oh, I think Heathcliff is the kind of guy who would definitely get a kick out of raping someone he despised.
- It's been many years since I read the book, but I thought the implication was that Linton looked more like his mother. If he did, it would be hard to tell if Heathcliff was his father, but ultimately doesn't really prove anything either way, unfortunately. It's probably left ambiguous on purpose.
Heathcliff is a werewolf.We don't know where we comes from. He's often called savage or wild, and has an unkempt appearance. At the beginning of the novel he's shown living in a ramshackle house with a pack of dogs. The book says he has "sharp cannibal teeth", then one paragraph later says he snarled, then one paragraph after that compares him to a loyal dog. The younger Catherine says she wants to make Linton, Heathcliff's son, her pet, and then pets him and feeds him from a saucer. Being that this is a gothic novel (and also features a ghost, and mentions witchcraft, fairies, and ghouls), this may be intentional.
- From his description in the book, I always thought Heathcliff was meant to be Roma. People in Europe didn't always look favorably on them, to the point of completely distrusting them, and they are associated with fortune-telling and magic. They had a reputation among some as being "noble savages", kind of like how European settlers regarded Native American Indians. Roma were also assumed to be thieves, which could explain how Heathcliff accumulated his wealth. Bronte does refer to him as a gipsy, and she might have meant it literally. On the other hand, he is described as though he were Raised by Wolves more than by humans.
Heathcliff is a vampire.Nelly Dean specifically wonders this. Most of the evidence for him being a werewolf (mysterious origins, sharp teeth, animalistic traits) could also point to vampirism. This is the real explanation for the elder Catherine's Brain Fever it's not caused by her grief or her self-starvation, it's Heathcliff preying on her.
The elder Catherine is a vampire.See this article for an alternative to the above. Cathy's Brain Fever is actually her becoming a vampire (though who turned her is unknown). This is why her corpse is still intact eighteen years after her death, and why she appears to Lockwood at the window not just as a ghost, but with a solid, ice-cold hand that clings to him and even bleeds when cut. Heathcliff's mysterious death is caused by her finally managing to bite him and turn him.