Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights employs one of the most powerful forces to drive its plot forward: the need for revenge. This is a force like no other because it thrives on negative emotions such as suffering, loss, and anger, especially from the pain of rejection in the novel. Not only is it influential, but also prevalent. Bronte depicts that the need for revenge is hidden in many characters, suppressed by love, until a single event unleashes its fury, corrupting characters and causing them to aggravate their misdoings, with one disaster following a first. Revenge, like abuse, is a repeating cycle; a sufferer becomes the inflicter of suffering on others so that everybody feels the pain, and only the power of love can overcome this mad addiction for revenge.
For Heathcliff and Hindley, the two most bent on revenge, purloined love fuels their need for revenge. Hindley needs revenge because he sees “Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent’s affections and his privileges; and he gr[ows] bitter with brooding over these injuries” (33). Hindley was always the entitled child, but because his father favors a mere orphan over him, he feels the pain of rejection. Heathcliff wants revenge because Hindley has separated him from Catherine. After Hindley shuns Heathcliff from the dining table and flogs him, Heathcliff tells Catherine, “I’m trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don’t care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last”(page number). Because Cathy is the only person who is kind to him and loves him, Heathcliff is furious when they are separated. He has lost his only link in the world that keeps him sane; without that link, Heathcliff plots revenge, imaging that this will mean he won’t “feel pain”(page number) This...
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...tead Hareton chooses to break the cycle of vengeance, as a result he ends up wealthy and happily married to Cathy, the only truly happy couple in the novel.
Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, depicts how a lack of love can fuel the desire for revenge. It just takes one person to start a cycle of repeated hatred and suffering, but also only one person to break this chain and bring happiness into the world. The relationships at Wuthering Heights are based on envy and revenge and only bring pain. This is ironic as the perpetrator of abuse believes it will bring them relief from their pain. But Bronte points out the futility of carrying out revenge since even when fulfilled, it does not serve its purpose of relieving pain or restoring love. That can only be achieved when people stay true to the path of love and are tenacious enough to overcome their suffering.
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