Literature – WH and ATSS – Revenge and Betrayal

Hi everyone, I have a massive post today all on revenge and betrayal for the books Wuthering Heights and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Enjoy!


Revenge and Betrayal

Even though Wuthering Heights is meant to be a romance, Brontë doesn’t follow the strict guidelines of the genre: the revenge plot is just as powerful, if not more so than the love that pulls Catherine and Heathcliff together. Without revenge as such a predominant theme, Wuthering Heights would just be another thwarted love story. A Thousand Splendid Suns has less revenge from the women, but a lot from the men. With both books, revenge stems mostly from love or hate, the most predominant feelings. Betrayal is shown through Catherine and Heathcliff’s love: Catherine betrays Heathcliff by marrying Edgar Linton, Heathcliff disappears for three years, but when he finally accuses her of betrayal, he frames it as disloyalty to herself.

A Thousand Splendid Suns uses revenge from a mix of love and hate. When Laila tells Tariq what the Khadim, the bully, shot pee at her, he gets revenge by beating him up, effectively stopping him from hurting her ever again. A mix of betrayal and revenge is linked to Nana’s suicide – she does it because she feels betrayed by Mariam and in turn gets her revenge by following through on her promise of killing herself. When Mariam kills Rasheed, she does it out of love for Laila, but she is also betraying Rasheed because she is his wife. However, she is mostly getting revenge for what he has done to her, Laila, and the children over their lives.

When Heathcliff can’t have the woman he loves, he turns his attention to getting revenge on his childhood tormenter, Hindley. The fact that Hindley already drinks like a fish and gambles to excess makes Heathcliff’s vengeance all the easier. He wrecks revenge on Edgar by taking his nephew, Heathcliff’s son, from him, taking Cathy and Isabella and letting Edgar know that it was Heathcliff that Catherine wanted all along. Cathy betrays her father as well, by leaving when she is told not to. The revenge and betrayals show the love of the characters depending on why they execute the revenge and who they betray. Heathcliff never actually tries to win Catherine back or take her away – he is just interested in getting revenge by way of getting the houses and splitting the houses. This is due to her betraying him in marrying Linton. He may also feel that once she gave all of herself to Linton she was worthy of revenge too, despite their strong love. Most of the characters know of Heathcliff’s nature and desire for revenge. Nelly, Edgar Linton and Catherine in particular, as they are essentially told by him and shown by him what he is capable of. Heathcliff is not the only character that desires revenge. Hindley shows a malicious side and so does Catherine, who forces Edgar Linton to stay with her and manipulates her regularly.

Catherine and Heathcliff could have eloped at the start of Hindley’s reign over them and left, as they were not at that time concerned with money or status. However, they have not admitted to each other how in love they are at this point and neither believe they will ever be away from each other either so it may seem immaterial to get married then. Also, they were too young at this point, fifteen and sixteen, to get eloped. Nelly’s sense of loyalty seems to come in when she believes what someone says or is doing – or if she personally feels it is best. This causes her to betray some people that she previously was very loyal to, including Edgar Linton when she feels she has to go to Wuthering Heights so Cathy doesn’t sneak out alone. Catherine, however, doesn’t seem to see herself as disloyal to Heathcliff when she marries Edgar. This may come down to her selfish nature, as she seems to believe she can do no wrong. Heathcliff sees it as a disloyalty and betrayal though. Heathcliff, though, is disloyal to Catherine when he marries Isabella in the way that she doesn’t want him to do that and at this point they know of their love and they both know that Heathcliff doesn’t love Isabella. Heathcliff is selfish also, but he marries her for revenge and this is where the betrayal comes from.


And breath. I hope that helps you come up with some points for your exams and essays, I know it helps me. I’d like to suggest for anyone who is revising these books that writing your own points rather than copying and pasting the whole lot, even if you only add a few words here and there, can really help because you can process your own work faster if it’s in your words. Regardless, have a brilliant day, please comment all the hundreds of missing things from the post, and have a nice day.

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