Wuthering Heights Quotes About Revenge

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte, Hindley and Heathcliff manage not only to self-destruct, but to obliterate everyone around them as well. In this lesson, we will look at the part that revenge plays in this novel.

Learning to Hate

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a story of love and revenge. After Hindley uses their father's death to seek revenge against Heathcliff for the jealousy that has consumed him, Heathcliff learns that the best revenge is against the loved ones of those who have hurt him. Let's find out more about revenge in this novel.

Jealousy Leads to Bitterness

From the moment Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights by Catherine and Hindley's father, resentment begins to build. Heathcliff and Catherine become very close and their father shows a marked preference for Heathcliff over Hindley. 'So, from the very beginning, he bred bad feeling in the house; and at Mrs. Earnshaw's death, which happened in less than two years after, the young master had learned to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent's affections and his privileges; and he grew bitter with brooding over these injuries.' Jealousy causes Hindley to seek revenge against Heathcliff by making him into a servant as soon as their father dies.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

For the most part, Hindley neglects Catherine and Heathcliff to the point that the two begin to run wild, but when the servant, Joseph, reminds him that it is not proper to allow them to miss church, Hindley responds by withholding food from Catherine and having Heathcliff flogged. Hindley's mistreatment of both Catherine and Heathcliff serves only to bring them closer together and further alienates Hindley from the rest of his family. 'The curate might set as many chapters as he pleased for Catherine to get by heart, and Joseph might thrash Heathcliff till his arm ached; they forgot everything the minute they were together again: at least the minute they had contrived some naughty plan of revenge; and many a time I've cried to myself to watch them growing more reckless daily, and I not daring to speak a syllable, for fear of losing the small power I still retained over the unfriended creatures,' narrates Nelly. Plotting revenge against their brother is the catalyst for the connection that Heathcliff and Catherine share.

Displaced Vengeance

When Catherine makes the decision to marry Edgar, it crushes Heathcliff. Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights after a disappearance during which he has obtained significant wealth, and Catherine accuses Heathcliff of seeking revenge against her by courting Isabella. Heathcliff responds, 'I seek no revenge on you,…The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don't turn against him; they crush those beneath them.' In this statement, Heathcliff indicates that he has devised a well thought-out plan for revenge against those whom he perceives as having done him wrong by hurting the ones they love. When Hindley was angry with his father for neglecting him, he took it out on Heathcliff. In turn, Heathcliff took out his revenge against Hindley on Hindley's son, Hareton. His anger against Edgar is taken out against Isabella. Eventually, all of their children will suffer from Heathcliff's displaced wrath.

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