Vivisection – nounThe place in the novel where this appears is late in the book when Heathcliff is contemplating Linton and Catherine: "Had I been born where laws are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two, as an evening's amusement." [Don't you just love Project Gutenburg? I used it to search the text for exactly the line I needed!]
- the action of cutting into or dissection a living body
- the practice of subjecting living animals to cutting operations, esp. in order to advance physiological and pathological knowledge
*shiver* That one word embodies for me much of who Heathcliff is. That word, and "obsession".
Why is that relevant to the tv version, you ask? Well, because I think the Masterpiece Classic version of Wuthering Heights sort of missed that part of Heathcliff.
Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the movie. I watched it over two nights and couldn't pry my eyes away from the tv. But there were somethings that I didn't like about it.
First, what I did like:
- the actors/actresses were perfect for the roles they were in
- the "love scene" with Heathcliff and his wife - he was so gentle with her when they made love for the first time, then after a minute or so he tells her not to look at him - it is so obvious that he is making love to Cathy in his mind - I felt so bad for his wife, but the scene was incredibly well done
- It has been many years since I've last read Wuthering Heights, but if memory serves, Heathcliff had sort of a bad streak right from the start. Hindley's treatment of him didn't help, but that "badness" was there all along. Does that seem correct to you? That's how I remember it - let me know if I'm wrong. Anyway, the movie doesn't show that. Heathcliff's "badness" seems to come only because of the death of his protector, Mr. Earnshaw, and his treatment by Hindley (and the neighborhood) throughout his life. Heathcliff's actions almost seem justified in the movie; I seem to recall he was less likable in the book, more disturbed.
- The movie starts with Catherine and Linton just before Heathcliff kidnaps her and forces them to marry. I was REALLY confused at first, thinking I was watching part 2 instead of part 1, but then it goes back in time to the start of the story. I'll admit that it allowed the movie to move more quickly but I didn't like it all.
A while back I read Suey's review of Wuthering Heights (the book) and I commented that the way she summarized it made me think of John Stienbeck's EAST OF EDEN, what with the second generation getting all screwed up because of the sins of the first generation, the twisted characters, the revenge, etc. Have you ever thought about it that way?
Of course, watching the movie and writing this post have me dying to pick up the book and read it again. I think I'll have to do that sooner rather than later.