Heathcliff and Hindleys relationship becomes more and more aggressive. Catherine accepts Edgars proposal of marriage, but not before she has told Nelly of her greater love for Heathcliff. However, she professes that her feelings are in spite of reason it would degrade her to marry him, and Heathcliff, overhearing only this, disappears. Catherine become ill and leaves to rest at Thrushcross Grange once more. She marries Edgar three years later when he is master of the Grange, with Nelly reluctantly accompanying her mistress.
Nelly describes the luxury and peace of the Lintons life, but this is unsettled by Heathcliffs return. Catherine is ecstatic to see him again, much to Edgars disgust. Heathcliff stays at the Heights with Hindley. Isabella Linton becomes attracted to Heathcliff, and this is a cause of worry for both Edgar and Catherine. Catherine tells Heathcliff of this, but only serves to complicate matters Heathcliff sees her fascination with him as an opportunity to revenge himself upon Edgar.
Nelly recalls her childhood with Hindley. This urges her to visit the Heights but she is alarmed at how much things have deteriorated. Heathcliff has encouraged Hareton to be unruly. She leaves when Heathcliff returns. He later calls to the Grange, encouraging Isabellas partiality which angers both Catherine and Edgar. The three argue and overwhelmed, Catherine retreats to her bed.
Catherine starves herself, and Nelly is contemptuous of her protestations of illness, refusing to tell Edgar and give him unnecessary worry. But Catherine deteriorates and Nelly grows anxious, recalling her mistresss earlier sickness. Isabella elopes with Heathcliff and Edgar disowns her.
Catherine is diagnosed with a brain fever, but slowly recovers under Edgars care. Heathcliff and Isabella have remained absent for two months and a letter to Nelly from Isabella suggests she regrets her marriage. Both are now back at Wuthering Heights. Learning of Catherines illness, Heathcliff lays all blame on Edgar, telling Isabella that she will be punished in his place. She begs Nelly to visit her.
Nelly tells Edgar of his sisters misery but he refuses to help. Her visit to see Isabella sees Heathcliff compel her to fix a meeting between him and Catherine. The narrative breaks as the doctor calls on Lockwood. He is repelled by Nellys description of Cathy, and resolves not to fall in love with her daughter.
Lockwood now takes over as narrator, recounting the story as told to him by Nelly Dean. Heathcliff visits Catherine. He is distraught on seeing her near death and they embrace with fierce passion. Nelly is anxious that Heathcliff leaves but Catherine begs him to stay. She faints as Edgar enters the room. Heathcliff departs but remains in the garden so Nelly can inform him of Catherine.
Cathy dies in childbirth and her daughter is named after her. Nelly goes to tell Heathcliff of her death but he already knows. His grief is violent and wracks him as he declares he cannot live without her, his life and soul. The funeral takes place one week later.
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