Essay on Vengeance: Heathcliff

Submitted By brenda2334
Words: 2206
Pages: 9

Vengeance is Empty Many readers believe the theme of this novel is love, for the love Catherine and Heathcliff had for one another. However, the novel is based on Heathcliff's vengeance upon the two families, Earnshaw and Linton. The “love story” was the cause for Heathcliff’s actions and revenge. The love between him and Catherine was just the catalyst for the novel of this man’s obsessive determination to bring down the two families. As an “orphan” child growing up at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is abused by Hindley, who is jealous about his father's affection for this gypsy outsider. One evening Mr. Earnshaw spotted an orphan on the way home and thought it was better to take him home; he was determined he would not leave it as he found it. He showed Heathcliff a great amount of affection towards him as if he was his own flesh and blood. Hindley sees the child as a rival for his father's affections and his own position as heir; he therefore, hates and torments him. Mr. Earnshaw was the only person who would stop Hindley from abusing the gypsy boy with pinching and tripping. Hence, when old Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley's treatment of Heathcliff grows more brutal with punches, kicks, and blows to the face. Catherine is the only one at Wuthering Heights besides old Mr. Earnshaw who cares about Heathcliff. The only thing that makes Heathcliff’s life bearable is the attention paid to him by Catherine, Hindley's sister. Catherine and Heathcliff had an innocent little thing progressing with one another. Loving each other more than

loving themselves, willing to do what is best for their lover. And slowly he became more and more in depth and love had blossomed between the two. Heathcliff had a terrible life with being abandoned not knowing where or who his family is and coming to a strange white family’s home, where he was unwanted by both children. Until Catherine notices Heathcliff more than just a useless servant boy. And realizes he is just as selfish, conceited, and manipulative as she is herself. Which draws her to him because they are cut from the same cloth. They love for knowing who the other is and still accepts them for who they are. When a dog from the Grange attacks Cathy at her intrusion, the Lintons aid her by keeping her at the Grange for a couple of weeks. The visit allows Catherine to turn into a lady quite unlike the rude, wild, childish girl she has been with Heathcliff, and lets her form an intimate relationship with Edgar Linton, the man living at the Grange. Catherine's change is visible on her return to the Heights at Christmas time. Heathcliff, although hurt by this, remains devoted to her, forming one part of a love triangle that includes Edgar Linton, who quickly becomes a despised rival. And not to shortly after Edgar asks for Catherine’s hand in marriage. “Nelly, I [Catherine] know, you think me a selfish wretch; but did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars? Whereas, if I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother’s power.” (Bontë 71) She seemingly suffers from an identity crisis, unable to choose between nature and culture; in other words, she can not choose between Edgar Linton and Heathcliff. Her decision to marry Edgar Linton over Heathcliff has been seen as a surrender to culture. “It would degrade me [Catherine] to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our

souls are made of, his and mine are the same; Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire” (Brontë 70). Heathcliff, eavesdropping outside, hears only that she feels that a marriage to him would "degrade" her. Immediately he embarks on a mysterious three­year absence. His decision can be regarded as the beginning of Heathcliff's revenge on the Lintons. He returns much later as a wealthy and distinguished gentleman, to find…