Why did Hindley Earnshaw dislike Heathcliff? Was he right in doing so?
Heathcliff is an adopted son, brought back by the father from the streets of Liverpool. Hindley resents Heathcliff's intrusion into the life of the family and, more than that, is bitter and angry that his father makes a favorite of the younger boy. A rough model or paradigm for this might be the Biblical parable of the prodigal son. In this parable the older brother deeply resents the return of his younger brother, who comes home empty-handed and hungry after having wasted his share of the inheritance. In the prodigal son parable, the father is wise enough to smooth over the older son's resentments by reminding him that everything the father has is his, but a hallmark of the Earnshaws is family dysfunction, so Hindley never gets the paternal reassurance that would make life easier for him.
Heathcliff is not a saint, and he uses the father's preference to his advantage. For example, Heathcliff forces Hindley to change horses with him when his own goes lame, but at the same time he did not set out to disrupt Hindley's life. It is natural and understandable that Hindley would have harbored resentment towards Heathcliff, but his degradation and abuse of Heathcliff when he inherits the estate is excessive and unwarranted. Hindley is driven to excess by grief over the early death of his beloved wife and then by his alcoholism.
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