What causes Heathcliff's revenge in "Wuthering Heights"?

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Heathcliff is a character who is tormented by his love for Catherine and by his bitterness over his ill treatment by Hindley.   Heathcliff has been treated as a favored son by Mr. Earnshaw, and then after Mr. Earnshaw's death, Hindley exacts revenge on Heathcliff by treating him as a base servant. Heathcliff feels further rage and bitterness when he overhears Catherine tell Nellie that she would be "degraded" by loving Heathcliff.  He runs away, filled with hatred for all who have hurt him.  When he comes back to Wuthering Heights, he comes back as master of the house, prepared to get revenge on his enemies.  After Catherine's death, his bitterness intensifies, causing him to act vindictively and cruelly to the younger generation. 

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The root of Heathcliff's motivation to take revenge is unrequited love. Though there is great suggestion at the start of the novel that Catherine loves Heathcliff, she can't allow herself to marry below her station. Though she cares for Heathcliff and is loving, she can't offer him the deep sort of love which he desires. Other factors only exacerbate this feeling. Catherine's marriage to Linton, a wealthy neighbor in the countryside, and Catherine's brother who treats Heathcliff very poorly. Upon Heathcliff's return later in life, the other characters are surprised to see that he has become a gentleman. He has returned to buy Wuthering Heights and inflict revenge on those who separated him from Catherine. The separation from Catherine is what motivates him to inflict revenge on the others.

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