At the end Heathcliff abandons his planfor vengeance and professes his love for Catherine only to see her die soonafter. In the novel Wuthering Heights Bronte shows that revenge is not the keyto happiness through irony, through plot, and through characterization. Irony isused over and over in the novel Wuthering Heights to express the notion ofrevenge. The main ironic incident in this novel is that no one ends up with theperson they want to be with despite the fact that they can be with the one theylove. For example Catherine loves Heathcliff. Catherine and Heathcliff are soulmates, and she even remarks to Nelly that, ? I am Heathcliff!?(142).
She is angry at Heathcliff for not leaving sooner to make something ofhimself. Catherine could have had Heathcliff, but she chooses not to and ends upmiserable. Another example of irony is that Heathcliff and Isabella do not loveeach other. Heathcliff thinks that he is with Isabella to get back at Catherine. He sees Isabella as an unsuspecting ?young lady?(91). However, Isabellamarried Heathcliff for spite.
She resents the fact that her Catherine marriedher brother and wanted to get back at Catherine. Neither Isabella nor Heathclifffind happiness in each others arms, and they both die miserable and unsatisfiedwith each other. The fact that Edgar wants to get back at Heathcliff afterCatherine’s death is very ironic. Edgar won.
Catherine marries him and notHeathcliff. Edgar is always jealous of Heathcliff. Before Catherine’s demiseEdgar tells her that, ?It is impossible for you to be my friend and his at thesame time? (99). When Catherine does not p.
3 respond to this Edgar goes on totell her, ?I absolutely require you to choose? (100). When Catherine doesdie Edgar seeks revenge. He knows that Catherine died of a broken heart tornbetween Edgar and Heathcliff. Edgar in a ranting rage tells Nelly, ?I’llcrush his ribs in like a rotten hazel nut?(158). He seeks vengeance onHeathcliff, but never gets it. A final example of irony is with Heathcliff andHindly.
A few years after Hindly condemns Heathcliff to a life of servitudeHeathcliff runs off and makes a living. He comes back a wealthy and proper man. Heathcliff helps Hindly out of debt. However, Hindly owes so much money toHeathcliff that Heathcliff takes Wuthering Heights from Hindly. So, just whenHindly thinks that he got back at Heathcliff for ruining his life Heathclifftakes his revenge and lets Hindly died a poor, miserable old man. The plot inEmily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights reflects the concept of revenge.
Mr. Earnshawmeets a poor boy on one of his trips. Because Mr. Earnshaw is such a ?capitalfellow?(9) he takes pity on the boy, Heathcliff, and invites him to live withthe Earnshaw’s. Mr. Earnshaw has an alterior motive for the boy.
He wants hischildren, Hindly and Catherine, to understand what it is like to share theirwealth with someone who is less fortunate than themselves. Mr. Earnshaw figuredthat the children would learn and grow from this experience. The truth is thatthe children did not. Hindly grows up miserable and resentful of Heathchiff.
AndCatherine eventually turned her nose up to Heathcliff only to find that she ischeerless without him. The novel takes a turn when Catherine has to decidewhether or not to marry Edgar. She knows that she has ?no more businessmarrying Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven? (64). YetCatherine marries Edgar anyway for p. 4 wealth, but more importantly revenge.
She wants to get back at Heathcliff for never making something of himself. Butat the end Catherine is the one who suffers. Heathcliff desires Linton and Cathyto be wed. This plan is curtailed by Edgar. Cathy falls in love with Linton andtells Edgar. When Edgar finds out he says, ?No one from Wuthering Heightsshall come here? (224).
Edgar does this for revenge. He does not wantHeathcliff or anyone to be happy. At the end he is Edgar is the one who is nothappy even though he thought he got the ultimate revenge. Characterizationanother literary device that Bronte uses in Wuthering Heights that reflects theconcept of revenge. Catherine begins her life happily.
She is a wild, carefree,and round character. As Catherine ages she becomes more concerned with her looksand her social position. Catherine goes to Thrushcross Grange where she istreated ?like a queen?(44) and when she returns she wants nothing to do withHeathcliff. Catherine finds a young man named Edgar. When Edgar proposes she istorn between Edgar and Heathcliff.
Edgar could provide her with anything shewants. However, Catherine loves Heathcliff. She chooses to marry Edgar and sheis miserable. Catherine wants Edgar to suffer because he never understoodCatherine’s affection for Heathcliff and Catherine wants Heathcliff to bemelancholy because he could not fathom the fact that Catherine picked Edgar overhim. Catherine’s ultimate revenge came when she passed-on and left bothHeathcliff and Edgar heartbroken and miserable. Hindley is another characterthat seeks revenge.
When Heathcliff comes to live with the Earnshaw’s Hindleyis very upset. Mr. Earnshaw adores Heathcliff and raised Heathcliff as a memberof the family. Hindley would ?blubber like a baby? (39) when he could nothave his way.
When Mr. Earnshaw dies Hindley takes over the house. The deepanimosity that Hindley feels for Heathcliff drives Hindley to condemn Heathcliffto a life of servitude. Hindley treats Heathcliff ?like a servant?(49).
p. 5Hindley sought vengeance and got it. Catherine never looked at Heathcliff thesame way and Heathcliff was miserable. Isabella gets really mad when she finsout that Heathcliff is still in love with Catherine. She decides to fillHeathcliff with grief and she ?runs the whole way from Wuthering Heights?(146).
Not only is Heathcliff heart broken when she leaves, she also takes theirbaby Linton along with her. Isabella got her revenge and now Heathcliff issuffering from the loss of Catherine, Isabella, and his baby Linton. Heathcliffseeks vengeance on Catherine. Heathcliff loves Catherine dearly and would stopat nothing to make her happy. One day Heathcliff overhears a conversationbetween Nelly and Catherine.
Catherine tells Nelly that, ? I shallmarry him ? (68). Heathcliff is crushed but, when Catherine speaks ofHeathcliff and says, ?Heathcliff has no notion of these things? (70). Shegoes on to tell Nelly that, ?He does not know what being in loveis?(70) Heathcliff overhears this conversation and runs away. He goes of insearch of a way to show Catherine what she is missing. Heathcliff comes back asa well dressed, proper, and wealthy man.
Catherine sees this perfect man infront of her and is filled with rage for Heathcliff is now out of her reach. Even though Heathcliff got revenge he did not get what he reallywanted–Catherine. In the novel Wuthering Heights Bronte shows that revenge isnot the key to happiness through irony, through plot, and throughcharacterization. The characters are consumed by desire to have revenge on thepeople who have tormented them. The people in the novel stop at nothing; notrealizing the serious affect that they have on themselves and on othercharacters. At the end revenge–not love– is what compels the characters in allthe key moments in the novel.
Bibliographyp. 6 Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. London: Orion House, 1973.