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...

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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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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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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