Lockwood’s Dream

I find Lockwood to be sickeningly arrogant with little to contribute to the story other than his haughty opinions and self-proclaimed misanthropy. Though it is because of his curiosity that we get to hear the story of Wuthering Heights from Nelly, so I suppose he does play a role. In addition, his dramatic dreams (I consider him quite a drama queen at times) illuminate several insights about him as well as some greater themes of the book.

The first dream Lockwood has in the forbidden room centers wholly around religion. It consists of him traveling with Joseph, an excessively religious, hellfire-and-brimstone man, to see an excessively religious, drawn out preacher. The sermon is insufferably long, and when Lockwood expresses his distaste at this fact, the congregation violently turns on him. This violent progression of events possibly portrays a strong aversion Lockwood has toward religion. No where is it indicated that he is a religious man of any sort. His condescending diction regarding the sermon “divided into four hundred and ninety parts” and his overall disdain toward the whole affair, so much so that he was moved “to rise and denounce” the preacher, suggest he wants nothing to do with religion (25). Whether he feels himself above it, due to a sense of superiority, or he has been insulted by it, after all: Branderham is relentlessly preaching on four hundred and ninety sins and how could Lockwood be guilty of any such things, Lockwood is critical of religion.

This depiction of religion in the dream speaks to a greater motif of hypocrisy in the story. When Branderham orders his congregation to punish Lockwood, they all attack him with such fervor that “every man’s hand was against his neighbor” (26). The members of the congregation are so rapt with fury that they fight against one another, their own brethren, in addition to the outsider. As high and mighty as Branderham pretends they are, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, they are just as depraved as anyone else. Also, Joseph acts as a major source of hypocrisy. He views himself as this pious, righteous, God-fearing man, such to an extent that he feels it his duty to denounce and rebuke the wickedness of the other members of the Earnshaw household. However, in reality, he is just as manipulative and cold-hearted as the rest of the affected characters.

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