The dominant theme in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is revenge. Throughout this novel one of the main characters Heathcliff is constantly seeking to avenge himself. He was brought into and raised in a world where money and status have precedent, but he has neither. Everyone in his world treated him differently, whether it was good or bad. Heathcliff stages an elaborate plan to seek revenge on anyone who he feels has ever done him any wrong.
The first person to suffer from his plan is his adopted brother, Hindley Earnshaw. Heathcliff was not born an Earnshaw; he is brought in by Mr. Earnshaw, their father, who found him on a street corner in Liverpool. Growing up Hindley is always very mean and malicious toward Heathcliff. He never thought Heathcliff belonged as demonstrated in this quote, “… Hindley hated him… ‘Be damned, you beggarly interloper!’…” (Wuthering Heights P. 30-31). When they are older and Hindley has died Heathcliff, who has gained control of Wuthering Heights through Hindly’s gambling debts, takes out his hatred by mistreating his son, Hareton Earnshaw. “… Hareton… lives in his own house as a servant, deprived of the advantage of wages…” (P. 157). Later, he even makes Hareton acquiesce to the whims of his own son, Linton Heathcliff.
Next on Heathcliff’s list is Edgar Linton. Heathcliff despises Edgar so much that he attempts to get revenge on him more than once. He never liked Edgar and likes him even less when he marries Heathcliff’s adopted sister and first love, Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff plans to get revenge on Edgar using the two people closest to Edgar’s heart, Catherine and Edgar’s younger sister, Isabella Linton. He uses these women to get back at Edgar without doing him any physical harm so as not to further upset Catherine in her state of illness.
Heathcliff starts by convinces Isabella to run away and get married to him. She agrees even after receiving repeated warnings from her brother and Catherine to leave Heathcliff alone. On their way out, Heathcliff hanged Isabella’s dog as a sign that he would kill everyone in the house but one. “… In passing the garden… I saw something… Miss Isabella’s springer, Fanny, suspended by a handkerchief…” (P. 107- 108). Heathcliff is also rough with Isabella after they are married and he has moved her into the Heights. He is both verbally and physically violent as demonstrated in the quote, “… I, being your legal guardian… however distasteful the