‘Violence breeds violence’
In the light of this comment, consider Emily Bronte’s presentation of violence in the novel.
Violence can be defined as being ‘the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation’. If we use this definition, then we can certainly see acts of violence within the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’.
The character of Heathcliff could be considered to be the most violent character within the novel, with most violence and aggression occurring at his hands. Interestingly, it may be the upbringing the Heathcliff had that resulted in the character we see later in the novel. The background of Heathcliff before he arrives at the Heights is unknown to us, but as we see, in his childhood after his arrival, violence is prevalent in his life. From his very arrival Heathcliff ‘bred bad feeling in the house’, which eventually culminates with a confrontation (most likely one of many) between Heathcliff and Hindley. Within the argument between the two, Hindley threatens Heathcliff ‘with an iron weight’, and tells him to take his colt in the hope that it ‘may break your [his] neck’. As such, it could be seen that it is Hindley’s treatment of Heathcliff that leads to his violent nature, and his later remark that he would like to ‘paint the house front with Hindley’s blood.’ Therefore, can we say that Heathcliff’s violence is just a product of his environment and the violence he is subjected to? This idea is one that is present throughout the novel, for example when Mr Lockwood enters the Heights for the first time, even though he is a gentle person described by Bronte as a creature of ‘tranquillity’, he indulges in violence when the dogs attack him, saying that he ‘would have set my [his] signet on the biter.’ This violence is also shown later by Lockwood during the...