Essay on Revenge and Love in Wuthering Heights
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A multitude of feelings and sentiments can move a man to action, but in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, love and revenge are the only two passions powerful enough to compel the primary actors. There is consensus, in the academic community,1 that the primary antagonist in the novel, Heathcliff is largely motivated by a wanton lust for vengeance, and it is obvious from even a cursory reading that Edgar Linton, one of the protagonists, is mostly compelled by a his seemingly endless love for his wife, and it even seems as if this is reflected in the very nature of the characters themselves. For example, Heathcliff is described as “Black-eye[d]” [Brontë,1], “Dark skinned” [Brontë, 3] and a “dirty boy” [Brontë, 32]; obviously, black has…show more content…
For proof of this, one needs to look no further than his actions toward Hearton Earnshaw over the course of the Heathcliff’s tenure as master of Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff literally spends most every waking moment reveling in and furthering his domination and maltreatment of Hearton to stick his thumb in the eye of Hindley. While an argument could be made that, Heathcliff's actions toward Cathy are an attempt to win back her favor after being spurned, one would need to look no further than Brontë’s description of Heathcliff’s “mourning” to see how truly and fundamentally wrong this argument is. While it must be ceded that Heathcliff speaks words of sorrow, such as “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” [Ch 16, haunt me passage], his tone is so filled with “frightful vehemence” that the narrator, Ellen Dean, cannot help noting “[his display] hardly moved my compassion—it appalled me.” [ch16, haunt me passage]. Even if one was to discount the tone of Heathcliff, there is still ample reason to believe that Cathy’s death frustrated Heathcliff due to his inability to complete his revenge as opposed to his “love”, namely his howling “not like a man, but like a savage beast being goaded to death with knives and spears” [haunt me] and “dash[ing] his head against the knotted trunk”, and his
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Violent Dreams As a Latin proverb states, “revenge is a confession of pain. ” The main character, Heathcliff, is a victim of a broken heart; in which, constructs feelings of inflicting pain on the ones who cause his suffering. In Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is tremendously affected by the characters in the story that spawn his reasons for vengeance. Initially, Hindley views Heathcliff as a usurper of Hindley’s position as Mr. Earnshaw’s son, and quickly begins to display signs of animosity toward him.
Subsequently, Catherine’s decision to separate herself from him fuels his revengeful schemes. Ultimately, the cruel, superior actions manifested by Edgar prove aggravating and unacceptable to Heathcliff. As Hindley treats Heathcliff horribly for taking the place of his father’s son, this creates massive agony in Heathcliff resulting in a wretched home within Wuthering Heights. Hindley also has a desire for revenge and “swears he will reduce him to his right place. ” His jealousy takes over and promises to set Heathcliff straight by commencing a series of mistreatment and abuse.
Another method of how Hindley demonstrates his loathing of Heathcliff is his commands to have him work as diligent as a servant. He forces him to “labour out of doors” and constantly “do as hard as any other lad on the farm. ” This punishment is barbarous because a man should not harass his sibling to labor on a field. Lastly, Hindley’s realization of Heathcliff and Catherine’s late night stroll brings upon new measures of wickedness to his mind. The “luckless adventure made [him] furious” so he encourages the opportunity for Catherine to obtain an extended visit at the Linton’s household.
Misery occurs in Heathcliff because of this great chance to separate the two lovers. In the times of Heathcliff’s infatuation for Catherine, her separation from him transforms her into a woman of improvement that boosts her standards greater than Heathcliff can provide her with. As a result of her physical and mental enhancement, she is convinced that she should possess a lover of a high social status. She confesses to Nelly that “it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff” because she knows their future together would consist of them being “beggars”.
Her social advancement prompts her marriage to Edgar instead of lowering her social status and becoming a beggar if she were to marry her one true love, Heathcliff. He unfortunately perceived this information of her inclination to marry Edgar and not her confession of true love to him, so one can assume his buildup of revengeful thoughts and shame of himself. Catherine’s cold words drip from her mouth as she carries on to say she “shall be proud of such a husband” as Edgar. She cannot marry Heathcliff and be proud of his impoverished, humiliating, and inglorious persona.
Heathcliff’s anger caused by Catherine continues prior to her tragic death because of her vengeance on Heathcliff, and creates feelings of guilt upon him. She blames him for the reason of her suffering, and of a broken heart, by expressing “nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted [them]” and “[Heathcliff] of [his] own will did it” himself. The justification of Catherine’s illness is because of Heathcliff leaving and that if he would have stayed, nothing could have parted them because Heathcliff’s departure was his own selfish choice.
During most of the events occurring in the last part of the narrative associate with revenge on Edgar for the sole purpose of Heathcliff’s own satisfaction of having him die alone without any loved ones. At an earlier age of Edgar and Heathcliff, a meeting came about that stirred up indignation of one another. He makes Heathcliff feel inferior to him and states that his “presence is a moral poison that could contaminate the most virtuous. ” This is eventually what Heathcliff becomes as he sets out to ruin the two families that fostered this unforgiving pain.
Edgar’s fundamental reason for being the predominant mainspring of Heathcliff’s vengeful maneuvers is his theft of Catherine from him. Catherine’s conviction of Edgar is that he will make her “the greatest woman in the neighborhood” after they marry. Her social status will rise farther than it would if she were to marry Heathcliff, so this sparks jealousy and envious beliefs of Edgar. Edgar attempts at preventing Heathcliff from seeing Catherine and this gives rise to the awareness that Edgar has stolen Heathcliff’s happiness.
Catherine still loves Heathcliff as Heathcliff loves Catherine but her aspiration to be wealthy is the source of her compromise of “Edgar shaking off his antipathy” toward Heathcliff and to “tolerate him, at least. ” She is so determined to become affluent that she is willing to construct an understanding that if Edgar knows how she feels about Heathcliff, he will tolerate her affection toward him. Heathcliff ‘s revenge is inflicted upon the one’s who created the buildup of anger and pain inside him throughout the story.
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The initial, principle reasoning for Heathcliff’s nature of vengeance is on account of Hindley’s envy and feeling of lack of love, which creates abusive anger toward Heathcliff. Catherine’s selfish desire to be socially advanced that is more important to her than being with Heathcliff, her true love, creates tension and adds more anger to his vengeful mind. Edgar’s indirect way of stealing Catherine from him develops the most amount of revenge in Heathcliff, that he even portrays this vindictive identity on to the next generation of the Lintons.
Author: Donnie Mathes
Wuthering Heights Essay Revenge
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