Revenge In Wuthering Heights English Literature Essay
Charles Percy Sanger wrote an essay in. He is the first person, who did detailed examination of the novel Wuthering Heights. Throughout his essay, he was finding an answer of question which had in his mind. Sanger starts an essay with the pedigree of the two families. Sanger notices all the dates. Novel starts with the date 1801. June 1778 was the year of Hareton’s birth, 20th March was the date of birth of Catherine. The marriage date of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton was June 1783. Catherine died at 2 a.m. on Monday 20th March 1784. According to Charles, Emily Bronte did not use a calendar. For him this mistake seems unusual characteristic of novel. I found his research very unique and different but on the same time, he has neglected some major issues of the novel. Revenge is one of the main issues, he has not written a single sentence on it. This seems strange because this was one of the detailed works on Wuthering Heights. At the end of his essay he has accepted that his research is technically dull.
Linda Gold’s examined the Wuthering Heights on the basis of Freudin interpretations in (2011). She analysed in depth, the symbiosis of Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar. In the same way she has made readers mind that how did revenge grown up between them? She has written her research on the interpretations of Freud’s id, ego and superego. Heathcliff’s id is suspicious. No one knows where he spent three years before coming into Wuthering Heights. Then she comes on Catherine, she had a very social personality. Her id was energetic and sharp minded. Her ego restricted and controlled her life to take changes. Then she discussed Edgar the super egoist. He is a true representative of Victorian era. He uses his wit power to select him rather than to Heathcliff. According to Freud’s analysis a male ego person would have the courage to deal successfully with the world, a female egoist person would have to live through males. Gold moves her Freudin Scrutiny to the second generation at the end. She said the whole structure of Wuthering Heights would be read as the development of one personality. If we see Wuthering Heights in the light of Gold’s research we will definitely agree with her. Id, ego and superego belong to Heathcliff, Catherine and Edgar respectively.
An entirely different approach has given by Grame Tytler in (2011). He has applied 19th century psychological theory on Wuthering Heights and further wrote an essay on it. Healthcliff was affected by monomaniac. Monomaniac was a very famous disease in Bronte’s days. New name of this disease is obsession, specific disorder in someone’s personality. Healthcliff had clearly symptoms of monomaniac. The whole research of Grame revolves around Heathcliff and the effects of monomaniac on him. The first symptom of this disease is passion. We all agree with the fact that Heathcliff loved Catherine passionately. When Catherine chose Edgar as her life partner, Heathcliff whole life destroyed. We can compare our self with Heathcliff. What will be our reaction if someone rejects us? Naturally we shout, scold and cry. Simultaneously reaction of Healthcliff seems natural at start but after some time his human nature turned into wild animal. He has taken out all his pain as revenge. He used to torture and harassed Isabella, Cathy and Hareton. Isabella says to Nelly “Is Mr Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?” (Bronte,E.1988,ch:13:135) Tytler described different stages of Heathcliff. He is the true picture of obsession. It could be more beneficial for us if he would emphasis on other characters too.
The readers who were read Wuthering Heights were shocked by the violence in the story. It is true because in 1847 people were not habitual for this kind of violence. Violence enhanced the revenge factor in the story. Violence revolves around many characters. For example it starts with Heathcliff and Hindley fight. We see in every violent scene there was a reason behind it. Hindley did not accept Heathcliff in his house. He used to hate his father when he supported Heathcliff. The relationship between Edgar and Heathcliff were full of revenge. Characters like Isabella and Cathy who suffered a lot, changed into wild and violent characters. Knives, blood on tree, taunts, harsh and aloud sound, whip are symbolisms of violence in the story. It is very important to think why Emily has shown this kind of extreme violence? It can be several interpretations. May be she wanted to reveal the reality of Victorian society or maybe she wanted to give a lesson or by showing violence and revenge she wanted to highlight the inner pain of human being.
Vengeance is the most imminent topic in Wuthering Heights. Many researches and essays have been written on this issue. In this essay critic added Austin O’Malley Statement he said “Revenge is often like biting because a dog bit you” (123helpme.com):(a) O’Malley’s quote gives a sense of cruel reality. No one can find peace through revenge. An essay starts with the Heathcliff plan that he wanted to take revenge from Edgar through Isabella. The death of Catherine proves that the plan helps him nothing. Catherine ghost were used to wandering around the earth. For 20 years, visiting Heathcliff and tortured him. “Let me alone, let me alone. Sobbed Catherine, if I have done wrong, I’m dying for it. It is enough! You left me too: but I won’t be upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!” (Bronte, E.1988,ch:15:156) .In my opinion the problem maker is Catherine in the story because she does not love Edgar. She chooses social status, fame and popularity instead of Heathcliff’s true love. Catherine nature resembles with the poetry of Oliver Goldsmith “When lovely woman stoops to folly and finds too late that men betray, what charm can soothe her melancholy? What art can wash her guilt away? The only art her guilt to cover, to hide her shame from every eye, to give repentance to her lover, and wring his bosom, is – to die”. (Goldsmith,O, When lovely woman stoops to folly:1-8) Hindley’s revenge destroys his own life. He got bankrupt and his beloved wife died and eventuality he died. Emily story compels her readers to think what Heathcliff achieved at the end? Is he got Catherine? Revenge worked nothing for him. Emily did great work by showing revenge as negative stigma.
Anton has written a thesis on the characterization of Wuthering Heights in (2011). Emily depicts the social code, conventions and challenges of Victorian society. It can also be taken as a deep criticism on Bronte’s time. Anton’s approach is quite new because he has taken out several important points. Thrushcross Grange symbolises as Edgar personality like decent and full of manners. While Wuthering Heights symbolises as Heathcliff personality like wild and unfriendly. Both houses inhabit dogs. The dogs of Wuthering Heights are wild, chaotic and habitual of natural environment. Grange owns pet dogs. Hindley’s personality shows a real man of Victorian era. He is charming, sensitive and emotional but when his father did discrimination between him and Heathcliff, his nature becomes alter. Catherine also affected by the situation and lifted closer to Heathcliff. The whole novel is full of paradoxical and ironical situations. For example, Catherine chooses Edgar instead of Heathcliff however she does not love Edgar. Catherine still loves Heathcliff but tries to bring Isabella and Heathcliff nearer. “My poor little sister-in-law is breaking her heart by mere contemplation of your physical and moral beauty. It lies in your own power to be Edgar's brother! No, no, Isabella, you sha'n't run off,' she continued, arresting, with feigned playfulness, the confounded girl, who had risen indignantly. 'We were quarrelling like cats about you, Heathcliff” (Bronte,E.1988,ch:10:108) Isabella, who is educated and mannered girl and lives with Catherine in one house still un aware with the affair of Catherine and Heathcliff how strange? The whole structure of the novel compels readers to think beyond the imaginations.
According to Eric Solomon Wuthering Heights has an incest theme. He has written a thesis in (1959) in which, he has raised many issues to justify his opinion. He quoted Richard Chase statement. He considers that “Is impossible to imagine such a stormy, undisciplined pair as Cathy and Heathcliff ever setting down to a normal life of domesticity”. (Chase,R. quoted in Solomon,E.1959:80) Because of Heathcliff’s black skin ton, it is not clear whether he was a gypsy or prince or devil? According to Nelly Dean’s narration old Earnshaw brought orphan Heathcliff to his own home. Mrs.Earnshaw did not like her husband’s step. She was thinking that her husband is mad or he may be having an illegitimate child. Because it was an old tradition in 18th century the provincial slum, the waif must have had some protector then why this child was wandering alone? Erics philosophy seems right because as brother and sister they could not be get married. As a son of Mr.Earnshaw he had rights to own the property. In the middle of the story we see Heathcliff comes as an owner of Wuthering Heights. The characters of Heathcliff and Catherine can be taken as victims of fate and things were beyond with their control. Eric’s research might be true because he closes his research on the Cathy’s question. “She is Heathcliff, does she mean that they are one flesh as well as one spirit?” (Solomon, E. 1959:83) Emily has left many questions on readers. Now it depends on us, from which angle of Wuthering Heights do we see?
Arnold Shapiro has compared Wuthering Heights with Great Expectation and Jane Eyre in (1969). His research is based on the ethical and moral traditions of the Victorian period. According to him Dickens, Charlotte and Emily have shown same issues in their writing. Like their characters have to face the problems and at the end they reach into the same conclusion. Heathcliff and Pip both are orphan alone and outcast as much as alien in the novels. Then he compares Mr.Earnshaw with Reeds, they bring stranger to their houses. Characters of Heathcliff and Jane also resembles both are looking different from everyone else therefore seems to bear a threat like Mrs.Earnshaw was ready to fling out Heathcliff and Reeds forced Jane to live with servants. Joe and Mr.Earnshaw both helped Pip and Heathcliff in many ways and it is very interesting to know that both Estella and Catherine betrayed to their lovers. In the Victorian period people were very good christens. In novel Wuthering Heights, Linton’s brought up shows that he is good in religion but when Isabella spoiled by Heathcliff and looking towards his brother, Edgar shows no humanity and ill – behavior. “I seek no revenge on you, replied Heathcliff, less vehemently. That’s not the plan. The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them. You are welcome to torture me to death for your amusement, only allow me to amuse myself a little in the same style”. (Bronte,E.1988,ch:11:114) Both Cathy and Catherine are having different natures. Catherine’s nature is greedy therefore she made her house on the grave of her lover while on the other hand young Cathy’s nature is sympathetic. As in the same way, the desires of Heathcliff are endless because he has sadistic nature.
According to James Hafley villain and problem maker in Wuthering Heights is Ellen Dean. He has read Wuthering Heights in the light of new experience. Charlotte Bronte said about Nelly “For a specimen of true benevolence and homely fidelity, look at the character of Nelly Dean”. (Bronte,C. quoted in Hafley,J.1958:199) In my opinion, Nelly’s role in Wuthering Heights is very prominent. She is a nurse and narrator of the story and to write thesis on Nelly is something exceptional. The critic of this paper adds textual evidence in order to make strong his points. Nelly had an objection that why Mr.Earnshaw brought Heathcliff in home? Throughout her life she never liked Heathcliff. Joseph always notices Nelly’s facial expression becomes change when she is narrating about Heathcliff. She used to create problems between characters. After Catherine’s marriage Nelly moved with her to Thrushcross Grange. She became greedy and acted as a queen over there. “A person who has not done one half his days’ work by ten o'clock runs a chance of leaving the other half undone”. (Bronte, E.1988,ch:7:69)She never tried to solve the problems of Grange house. “I rang the bell and committed it to a servant care.” (Bronte, E.1988,ch:17:164) She knows Heathcliff came back and now he is trying to meet with Catherine but she remained as silent and sees how Heathcliff compelled Isabella to marry him. She is also responsible when Cathy got hostile by Heathclif. I really appreciate James effort but we should remember the fact that Nelly Dean is just a poor servant of house. She has fulfilled all the duties commendably.
Distortion and exaggeration are equally important topic in Wuthering Heights which lifts Heathcliff to take revenge. Heathcliff cries many times for Catherine. “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" (Bronte,E.1988,ch:17:161) Catherine also feels same for him once she spoke to Nelly that “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”. (Bronte,E.1988,ch:11:86) It shows both of them truly love each other. After Catherine’s death her she used to haunt Heathcliff as a ghost. Despite of their physical separation, Edgar could not part them spiritually. Heathcliff shows his vindictive nature and becomes evil more than Satan. After Catherine he decides to take revenge from every one. Only Catherine could have saved because of her death. Heathcliff has tried his best to destroy Isabella, Linton, Cathy, Hareton lives. Emily over exaggerated the fear of death. For example in the beginning it was shocking to read Lockwood injured by the wild dogs. At that time people were not habitual for this kind of tension. Because of this Wuthering Heights had faced criticism but ultimately novel has changed people’s mind. Now Wuthering Heights considers as classics of Victorian period.
Critic’s appreciated the frame narration of Wuthering Heights a lot. Many researches and essays have been written on Nelly Dean. In another paper critic has expresses his thoughts. Nelly is having a very strong character in novel. She had philosopher type mind Nelly says: “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves”. (Bronte,E.1988,ch:7:64) She is not only nurse and servant but in addition she is a mother for Catherine and Hindley. She has lived all her life between moors and justified his role whether live in Grange or Wuthering Heights. Whenever Cathy needed help she always did whatever she could. She is a person of wisdom and. dignity. Once she said "A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad, if you were a regular black; and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly." (Bronte,E.1988,ch:7:65) Witness of almost every incident but never cheated any one. She used to guide everyone.
Bitirme Tezi’s writes thesis in (2009). He emphasizes on the love and isolation of Wuthering Heights. He further elaborates his research and says it can be a cause of destructive relationships in the novel. Our mind starts understanding his point of views when we closely read the novel. Isolation of Wuthering Heights recognises as have the connection of moors and hills and strong natural environment, on the other hand isolation of Thrushcross Grange is connected with the idea of lively atmosphere. Gimmerton society was the high class society in those days. Wuthering Heights had no communication with Gimmerton and they were isolated from society while the Thruchcross Grange had strongly relations with Gimmerton people. That is the reason people of Thrushcross were more educated, mannered and very much affected with the norms of 18th century. Therefore lack of association with high class strongly affected the people of Wuthering Heights. Catherine, who is poor, meets with rich Edgar, she impresses by his wealth and finally they get married. It seems very normal but on the wider imagination it has created differences between many people and became a cause of revenge.
Wuthering Heights was very famous in Victorian period. Some readers like the novel and some not. Many critics have long list for the reasons of disliking. Infanticide and Sadism is one of the reasons. Wade Thompson has criticised the novel. I respect his views and agree with what he said about infanticide. “Catherine Earnshaw is not quite eight when her mother dies; “Cathy Linton's birth coincides with her mother's death; Hareton's mother dies in the year of his birth; and Heathcliff is an orphan by the time he is seven. Even the children who receive motherly care throughout their childhood do not receive it long after they reach puberty. Linton Heathcliff loses his mother when he is not quite thirteen-Linton, of course, is a child all his life-and Isabella Linton is orphaned when she is fourteen. The only exceptions-and these unimportant-are Hindley Earnshaw and Edgar Linton, who are sixteen and eighteen respectively when their mothers die and even their mothers are apparently not very motherly”.(Thompson,W.1963:69) but I m not agree when he said about sadism, in my opinion Heathcliff never wanted to have an adult relation with Catherine but for his desire of revenge, he forced Linton to have relation with Catherine. Only Heathcliff and Catherine are not responsible for Linton and Catherine, Isabella and Edgar are equally responsible for the destruction.
Wuthering Heights shows destructive relationships between the characters. In another essay critic has pointed out the characteristics of destructive relationship. He discusses topics like un-caring parents, jealousy and desire of revenge. His research seems right because Mr.Earnshaw was unsuccessful to maintain a balance between Hindley and Heathcliff. Another example is Hareton and Hindley. Hindley never became a good father, he had spoiled his life in drugs and because of him Hareton departed as uneducated person. The primary example of destructive relationship is Heathcliff and Linton. Once Linton says: him“My father threatened me, and I dread him – I dread!” (Bronte,E.1988,ch:27:244) Isabella, Heathcliff and Catherine, Edgar both couples are the example of destructive relationship. In my opinion our brought up make our life good or bad, if we have proper family atmosphere we won’t be get jealous which creates ultimately a desire of revenge.
The influence of childhood pervades throughout the novel. In another essay, critic has compared two generation’s childhood behaviour. Heathcliff, Catherine and Hindley have shared childhood together. According to Steve Davies “The childhood of both protagonists Heathcliff and Catherine, haunts them in their adult lives thus affecting their interactions with and their behavior towards other people in a negative way.”(customwritings.com):(b) They used to dinning and sleeping together. But because of many quarrels and jealousy their relation became dejected and vengeful. At one time Heathcliff said “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. I hope he will not die before I do!” (Bronte,E.1988,ch:7:69) In my point of view Emily has fully justified with the plot. One way she has shown negative impacts of these people at the end of the story then on the same way, she has opened a door of new life by showing Catherine and Hareton marriage. They are the hope of new generation. They have overcome their bitter memories.
In another essay critic expresses his views and says Wuthering Heights is a silly love story. He has given this title on the basis of two books one is written by Robert McKibben, and second is Control of Sympathy in Wuthering Heights written by John Hagan. I totally agree with his perception that only Catherine and Heathcliff should not be blame for the disasters in the story. They were passionately in love. But we all know in every love story there is always a third person who creates problems between lovers life. Edgar has played third person’s role in the story. After the death of Catherine, Heathcliff used to cry and scold most of the time. “Come in! come in!" he sobbed. "Cathy, do come. Oh, do –once more! Oh! My heart's darling, hear me this time – Catherine, at last!"(Bronte,E.1988,ch:3:41) Wuthering Heights gives us lesson that revenge is dangerous and harmful for our life.
To conclusion, Emily Bronte has created a new world in one novel Wuthering Heights. She has shown influence of childhood, social problems, destructive relationships, violence, isolation and many others. The root cause of all these problems is Revenge. My research focuses on finding the reasons behind any act of revenge because I truly believe that God has not created men with the negative nature it is the circumstances that creates human being nature as vindictive. Since those researches which I have discussed in literature review are not adequate, therefore I have done this research. My research is not the last research on this topic I hope it will link towards new beginning.
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