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Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë
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Discuss the theme of revenge in Wuthering Heights.

The theme of revenge is highly significant in Wuthering Heights. Virtually all of the action taking place in the story comes from a desire for vengeance by one character or another. The predominance of revenge in Wuthering Heights reinforces the brutal, almost primitive atmosphere that pervades every aspect of life in the Yorkshire Moors.

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Revenge is everywhere in Wuthering Heights. Hindley gets his revenge on Heathcliff for taking his place at Wuthering Heights by denying him a chance to get an education. Heathcliff pays Hindley back in his own way by denying an education to his own son Hareton.

But Heathcliff's not done...

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Revenge is everywhere in Wuthering Heights. Hindley gets his revenge on Heathcliff for taking his place at Wuthering Heights by denying him a chance to get an education. Heathcliff pays Hindley back in his own way by denying an education to his own son Hareton.

But Heathcliff's not done yet. In due course, he will seek revenge on Edgar for marrying his beloved Catherine. Of all the characters in the story, Heathcliff seems to be the most vengeful of all.

To a large extent, this is because there's something different about him. Set apart from society due to the mysterious circumstances of his birth, he doesn't feel bound to its moral norms and values. Then again, environment, as well as personal choice, plays its part. There's something decidedly uncivilized about this part of the world, with its oppressive, brooding atmosphere that is particularly conducive to the development of vengeful attitudes.

If Heathcliff stands apart from civilized society, then the same could be said of Wuthering Heights and its environs. This is a world largely cut off from the norms and values of decent society, in which revenge has no place and where relations between individuals are governed and regulated by law.

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