The underlying universal theme of Wuthering Heights is the co-existence of good and evil. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, the novel is concerned with the problem of men and destiny; and like Milton's Paradise Lost, it recalls the proud challenge of Satan and the conflict between good and evil which had dominated man's entire history. In the first chapter, when Mr. Heathcliff's tenant Mr. Lockwood of Thrushcross Grange rides a distance of four miles to see his landlord, we are told "Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling", Wuthering being a significant provincial adjective descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather.
Thus, the house is so named as it is exposed to snow, storms and roaring winds. The Chamber's 20th Century dictionary gives a meaning of Wuthering as "to make a sullen roaring as a wind".
The title refers to the principal scene of action in the nove. Most of the incidents of the novel occur at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is brought to the heights from Liverpool by Mr. Earnshaw. The old master Hindley, Heathcliff and Catherine all grew up at the heights. It is at the heights that Heathcliff having been persistently ill-treated by Hindley becomes his inveterate enemy and swears revenge on him. So, the foundation on which the structure of the story is led is Wuthering Heights. It is a story of love and revenge which is centered around the class between the stormy, rude and violent Wuthering Heights and the calm, serene Thrushcross Grange.
Wuthering Heights is the witness of both prosperity and subsequent ruin of the Earnshaw family. Heathcliff was brought here as an orphan boy and Mr. Earnshaw wanted him to be adopted to the happy family life. But as a moor, Heathcliff was destructive, spiteful, jealous that disrupted the normal rhythm of family life at Thrushcross Grange. In the first generation story he described the life of Edgar by reviving the secret relationship with Catherine and again he married Isabella to avenge upon the Thrushcross Grange. He mated out the first generation suffered most. In the second generation also he did not spare Hindley, Linton or even young Catherine. The ghost of the lover seem to loiter in the Wuthering Heights signifying the spiritual union between Heathcliff and senior Catherine whereas Hereton and younger Catherine decide to live at Grange. So, most of the principal action of the novel take place at the Wuthering Heights.
Characters are inseperably attached to the heights as Catherine recalls "Heaven was not my home" she said, "and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth: and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of Wuthering Heights: where I woke sobbing for joy".
The hard winds blowing around Wuthering Heights are in consonance with the stormy and violent nature of the hero and the heroine. The children of storm in the novel dominate the children of calm, or in other words, Wuthering Heights dominates the Grange. Heathcliff becomes the master of the Heights, and afterwords becomes master of the Grange also. The inhabitants of the Grange are under his full control, and he can do with them whatever he likes. Hence Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff as its master has a dominant position in the novel.
The story begins and ends at Wuthering Heights. In the opening scene Mr. Lockwood visits Heathcliff at the Heights, and towards the end he visits the Heights again to find that Heathcliff is dead, and that younger Catherine and Hereton are about to be married. Comparatively more scenes are laid at the Heights that at the Grange. Hence, it is quite appropriate to call the novel Wuthering Heights.