In the novel, Whuthering Heights, Emily Bronte has created one of the most controversial novel in the 19th century. Bronte has written a novel that contains many views of complex ideas. Revenge and love revenge are examples of such. The main theme of revenge is protared through the character of Heathcliff. Heathcliff is also part of the theme of love accompanied by that of Cathy. The other half of the love theme is shown throught the actions of Hearton and Catherine. The intertwineing of the ideas of revenge and love prove to give Heathcliff a distored vision of love and Cathy a need for such a love that only Heathcliff can give to her. Where as Catherine and Hearton, the second generation, learn from the experiences of the earlier generation that lived at Wuthering Heights.
The first memories Heathcliff has of life at Wuthering Heights is that of being unequal. Hindley showed no other act to him but cruelty. Hindleys brutality, tyranny, and murderous violence far outdo anything of which Heathcliff can be cused on the evidence (Langman 143). The theme of revenge grows from the treatment Heathcliff recieves from is Hindley. His prime motivation is love , or to be more precise the lack of love. He decides to persecute Heathcliff , because he feels this later has usurped his position in his father s love. He refuses to allow the curate to continue Heathcliffs education and forces the still very young boy to work as a farm-hand. Here is one of the first exaples of idea of revenge when Heathcliff says:
“I dont care how long I wait , if I can only doe it , at last (Bronte 47).
Heathcliffs violence and cruelty are by contrast are not random and irresponsible, they are a willed. He has certain goals- power, money, a triumph over the circumstances and agents of his former humiliation- and he uses force and deceit to reach them (Langman 143). The event that was crucial in driving away Heatchcliff was Cathys decision to marry Linton, in which she says:
Ive no more business to marry Edgar Linton
than I have to be in Heaven; and if the wicked
man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low,
I shouldnt have thought of it. It would degrade me
to marry Heatchcliff now (Bronte 63);
While witnessing this speech he become outraged and runs away from Wuthering Heights. While away, Heathcliff transforms himself into a gentleman, in hopes of getting back Catherine. Upon returning to Wuthering heights, he discovers that Catherine has married Edgar, the plan of revenge grows from that idea of the loss of Cathy. The first part of the plan involves getting back at Edgar, the man who singularly took away his happiness, and then to commit suicide. The moment Cathernines ardent welcome proves she still loves him, however, he abandons this plan and adopts another – that of taking up residence again at Wuthering Heights in order to be once more in her vicinity (Hagan 146). The reasoning behind this is to try once more to gain back the love of Catherine. The third part of the plan deal with the the hopes of becoming master of the Heights and the Grange. This is done to take revenge against all of the Earnshaws and the Lintons collectively. This final act of revenge is the marriage of Cathy and his son Linton:
Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you:
and, however miserable you make us, we still
have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty
arises from your greater misery!(Bronte 218)
This union completed the journey of revenge for Heathcliff. With that union Heathcliff gains control of Thrushcroft Grange. This great passion in the need for revenge an administering acts of cruelty help the reader to in understanding his basis of emotions. This explains the misunderstood definition of love he understands. Which I will now discuss is love between Heathcliff and Cathy.
Love is expressed in two entiresly different ideas.The first type of love is that kind that occures between Heathcliff and Cathy, which a kind of love definded by that of need. The secondly type is that of Hareton and Catherine, this type of love is more of a true type of love. Barbara Prentis, author of The Brote Sister and George Eliot, thinks that the ideas of love expressed by the characters are in fact, reflected not by Brontes own life because this girl seeked no comfort in earth, no husband, no lover, no close companionship, could write of these things in poetry and her novel with such integrity and conviction(99). The first type of love is referred to by other authors as mythical, inhuman, a love of suffering, and that of a tragic love.The first example of this oneness type of felling for love occurs when Cathy says:
Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine
This lead way to one of the most influential speeches made by Cathy about her feelings toward Heathcliff. In which she states:
If all else perished, and he remained, and he were
annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty
stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for
Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will
change it, Im well aware, as winter changes the
trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the
eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible
delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff.
Hes always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure,
any more than I am always pleasure to myself,
but as my own being. So dont talk of our separation
again: it is impracticable….(Bronte 63-64).
This declaration of Cathys feelings is an endeavor not so much to convey the strength as to define the nature of her love, and so to win a recognition from Nell (and, in a sense, from the reader) of it value (Langman 141). In which she has defined her feeling toward Heathcliff and Linton in describing the different basis of her feelings. She explains she must love him, that it is part of her nature. Through her feeling toward Heathcliff, Catherine discovers her own identity, her place in the world – as he does through her (Langman 141). These ideas she expresses explain to us the felling of the deepest kind of passion she knows and that it is part of her being. This is a love which longs for a soul unity with the beloved.
Another example of this love occurs in the last meeting between Heathcliff and Cathy. In which she continues to feel the actal love that Heathcliff encompasses for her. Cathy says:
… and should a word of mine distress you hearafter, think I feel the same distress underground, and for
Nay, if you nurse you anger, that will be worse to
…..Oh you see, Nelly! He would not relent a moment
to keep me out of the grave! That is how I am
She is confessing that she is going to die. She is also taunting with the image of himself visiting her grave with is wife and children. She questions that who will ever love now that she is gone.