Revenge in Wuthering Heights
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Table of Contents
There are some wounds that go so deep they can never fully heal. Such irreparable damage can spark one of the greatest human motivations: revenge. If kept unchecked, it will grow inside us until it consumes our every thought and ruins our lives. Emily Brontë illustrates this immensely destructive force in the characters Hindley and Heathcliff— characters motivated by a thirst for revenge that ultimately leads to their downfall.
Hindley’s need for revenge can be traced to his father’s favouritism. From the moment that Heathcliff entered the Earnshaws’ home, Hindley saw him as a lesser, and treated him as such. Mr. Earnshaw, angered by his son’s mistreatment of the orphan he saved from the street and appalled by his lack of respect, began to favor Heathcliff over Hindley. Eventually he sent Hindley to college. Hindley returned following his father’s death, and with no one around to protect Heathcliff, Hindley was free to express his true hatred of the boy his father favoured. He stripped Heathcliff of his status “…and insisted that he should labour out of doors…as hard as any other lad on the farm.” (P. 58). This mistreatment of Heathcliff by Hindley laid the groundwork for Heathcliff’s own thirst for revenge, and, ultimately, Hindley’s demise.
Heathcliff showed resiliency. He was able to endure Hindley’s mistreatment because of his overwhelming love for Catherine. But ...