Why does Heathcliff elope with Isabella in the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë? What does Isabella discover about his nature and true intentions? Please focus on material covered in chapters 13-15, including one or more quotations.

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Although Isabella casts Heathcliff as a romantic, Byronic hero whose hard exterior masks a tender heart that loves her, Heathcliff marries her to get revenge on the Lintons. He especially wants revenge on Edgar Linton for despising him and for marrying Catherine. He does not consider him a worthy husband for her and resents deeply his attempts to keep Catherine apart from him. He also despises Isabella as a weakling.

Isabella discovers that Heathcliff is not what she thought almost as soon as they elope. As she writes to Ellen:

The second question I have great interest in; it is this—Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I sha’n’t tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but I beseech you to explain, if you can, what I have married . . .

By time she writes, Isabella has realized that Heathcliff hates her and will continue to treat her cruelly. She writes:

I do hate him—I am wretched—I have been a fool!

When Ellen goes to visit them at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff talks to her about his marriage in front of Isabella, explaining what happened and his true feelings:

"She abandoned them under a delusion," he answered; "picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting on the false impressions she cherished. But, at last, I think she begins to know me: I don’t perceive the silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me at first; and the senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation and herself."

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Two main emotions drive Heathcliff in the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The first is love for Catherine and the second is hatred for the people he believes to have wronged or despised him in the past. He does not elope with Isabella because he is attracted to her for herself in any way. In Chapter 14 he emphasizes:

It was a marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I [Heathcliff] did not love her [Isabella]. I believed, at one time, no lessons could teach her that! And yet it is poorly learnt; for this morning she announced, as a piece of appalling intelligence, that I had actually succeeded in making her hate me! A positive labour of Hercules, I assure you! ... I daresay she would rather I had seemed all tenderness before you: ... But I don't care who knows that the passion was wholly on one side: and I never told her a lie about it.

Instead, Heathcliff says that his entire purpose in marrying Isabella is to gain power over her. The purpose of this is to use her as a tool in his revenge against her family, especially against her brother Edgar who married Catherine, the only woman Heathcliff has ever loved. The second purpose of the elopement is to gain control of Isabella's money.

Isabella's letter, which forms the majority of Chapter 13, reveals how Isabella comes to understand that Heathcliff not only does not love her, but is emotionally abusive to her. In Chapter 14, Isabella and the readers learn more about Heathcliff's continuing love for Catherine and hatred for Edgar. 

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