How are Hareton and Heathcliff alike and different?

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Heathcliff and Hareton are alike in many ways both in characteristics and circumstances.  Heathcliff had been a poor orphan brought into the Earnshaw household and at first treated like a son.  After the death of the father, Hindley began to treat Heathcliff as a servant, almost a slave.  In a similar manner, Hareton began life as the son and heir of the house, but when Heathcliff managed to basically steal the estate from Hindley, and Hindley died, Hareton became the servant, and almost slave.  Both Heathcliff and Hareton were raised with little or no education or training in social graces.  The difference between them is that Heathcliff allowed his circumstances to warp him, and grew up desiring little more than revenge.  Even his love for Catharine was somehow swathed in darkness and contributed to her death.  Hareton, although quick tempered, really has a good heart and a desire to improve himself.  He is able to rise above his circumstances and the marriage between him and Catherine closes the deadly cycle of revenge and brings healing to the families involved.  There love can be lived and enjoyed in a way that the tortured love of Heathcliff and Catherine could not be.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Heathcliff is all raw emotion. He feels great love or great rage, he is not a man of mediums. When his love for Catherine does not work out, he turns his love into a quest for revenge.

Hareton is much more emotionally stable. He is not ruled by his emotions, yet Cathy's love for him turns him into a better person.